Becoming a CPA with Fast Forward or CPAExcel

CPA Excel and FFA review courses for accountantsIt’s been talked about in the media quite a bit lately that the African American community does not focus enough effort on promoting professional careers to the younger generation. Charles Barkley has promoted this discussion most recently during a half time report when the topic of Sterling was presented.

Barkley had an interesting argument. Most younger African Americans are raised with the idea that the only way they can succeed in life is to become an entertainer either in the form of an athlete or a musician. Unfortunately, this seems to have become the norm in our culture and is a completely degrading viewpoint.

Barkley went on to say that white families raise their children to aspire to become doctors, lawyers, and certified public accountants. “This is what we should be doing as a community,” he stated.

I think this is the right mindset. Promoting education and positive behavior will only strengthen and build the community for future generations to come. Plus, it will help promote job growth and decrease poverty.

Take an accountant for example. The accounting industry is booming right now. The IRS is hiring auditors while public firms are having a difficult time hiring enough employees to meet the growing demand brought on by increased tax regulations. Now is the perfection time to take the CPA exam and become and accountant.

There are many different affordable colleges that offer accounting programs with focuses that prepare students with the educational requirements to become a CPA. There are also CPA review courses like Fast Forward Academy that can help students study and get certified.

In addition, there are even review courses that have video lectures and allow students to sit in on virtual classrooms to learn the topics and strategies of taking the cpa exam. The Wiley CPAexcel course does a great job of educating candidates on what they need to know when it comes to the exam.

All of these are great options for the next generation. Imagine if we could double the percentage of African Americans who pass the exam and start a career as a CPA by the year 2020 just because we promoted educational courses and the ability to achieve a better life through a solid career course. It would completely change people’s views and perceptions forever.

Certified Public Accountants only make up one profession that can easily be obtained with only a bachelor’s degree. Many other professions have minimum educational requirements and are very feasible for kids who are the first to go to college in their family.

We encourage you to explore the options that are available out there for your kids and family members. Inspiration should come from within the community because we have the power to improve ourselves and the lives of everyone around us.

A Leading Voice through Literature

leading-by-readingSome of the best and most influential leaders of our time have been prolific writers, both in the private and public life. Martin Luther King Jr. was a great writer who changed life as we know it for the black community in America. Similarly, the writings of Booker T. Washington and Fredrick Douglas were and continue to be extremely influential pieces of literature. Writing today is just as important, if not more important, of a communication form today as it was back then. In this post I want to emphasize a few ways that our community’s youths can become leaders in their community through literature.

Writing is one of the quintessential communications forms, second only to speech itself. It’s been around for thousands of years, yet only relatively recently has it been widely available to the masses. Consider this, in the middle of the 19th century; the black population in America was almost completely illiterate. By the year 1900, this number increased to 50%. That is one of the most remarkable accomplishments in the history of the human race. Never was there such widespread success so fast from a group that was held back for so long. This of course underlines reading and writing’s essential role in our society. More people today can read than ever before in human history. Just 200 years ago, virtually the entire population was illiterate, let alone knew how grammar worked, or knew Principle vs Principal explained. Today almost everyone can read, many people doing so every single day.

By writing, people can establish themselves as community leaders and activists in certain areas. One popular way to do this is to write letters to the editors of local papers. This is an especially effective way to become the voice for a community because it exposes you and your writings to a larger audience.

There are other ways to become a voice for your community with literature. You can write a history of your local town, whether it be online or a hard cover book. You can organize book talks or poetry readings at a local library and relate topics to community issues. Depending on how comfortable you are, you can even volunteer to help teach kids who can’t read or write the grammatical lessons they need to succeed in knowing the difference between capitol and capital. No matter what you do, the important thing is encouraging the public to read, write and do the same. Not only are you learning but you are helping the community.

People will always need to read in order to be successful in life, so the earlier we can get kids reading, writing books and essays, and enjoying literature the better. Even though some of you might say, well if everyone can read, why do we need to bother teaching and encouraging kids to do it? The answer is because many inner city kids cannot read effectively and need the encouragement and training to be successful later in life.

Just think what the world would look like today if Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t know how to read or write. It’d be a very different one, and one I would not like to be a part of.

Learning Leadership Qualities from Apprenticeships

mini dental implant repair

One of the best ways for young men to attain the leadership skills necessary to be successful in the modern world is to get a summer job in high school. This is even more important for young men of color who often find themselves located in highly urban areas that do not always produce an ample amount of opportunity in the way of employment. In fact the teenage unemployment rate for the black community is several times higher than the general populations, showing the drastic need for young men to learn and attain these skills in the workplace and one of the best places to do this is through a summer job.

When I was in high school, the summer before my senior year, I worked as an apprentice for a local dentist at his oral surgeon practice. It was a specialized dental office in Royal Oak, Michigan that specialized in affordable dental implants, which is a very special surgery that replaces existing bone and teeth.

I cannot emphasize how great this experience was for me while I younger. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life or what I wanted to be when I grew up; I only had one year left of high school, but I thought adulthood was years away. Working at the dental office really gave me a foundation for what career I wanted to pursue.

During my time at the practice, I saw first hand what it was like to be a small business owner. I saw how payrolls were made. I saw how to schedule clients in for appointments and fill schedules when people cancelled.

Even thought I didn’t decide to go into dentistry myself, working with the doctor showed me a number of things that cannot be taught in any classroom and cannot be learned in any book. It showed me the value of hard work and dedication. The main dentist described to me the first place he start working at after college, a small dental implant prosthesis practice by Auburn Hills, MI and how he always wanted to start his own shop and once did, he was the most fulfilled he had ever been in his life. His story is what inspired me to be the small-business owner and entrepreneur that I am today. And what better way to be a community leader than to be a business owner in the community? By being a small business owner, you can provide your community, friends, family, coworkers with services they need and help families put food on their tables for their kids. It is extremely rewarding and something that I do not think I would have ever pursued if it weren’t for my summer apprenticeship.

If we truly care about equality and social justice as a positive goal to be pursuing, we should really encourage the youths of our communities to be adventuresome and try a part-time job during summer so that they can pick up some of the professional skills that they will need when they enter college and their future careers. Even if kids aren’t planning on becoming a dentist or working in the dental field, these programs will give them many advantages over their peers with less experience.

Becoming a Local Government Leader

community-leaderOne of the most influential roles someone can have in their local community is to become a city council member. Members of city council assist in running the city, oversee police departments, infrastructure, parks, make city planning initiatives, among countless other things. Becoming a city council member can really give you a voice in your community, and in this post I want to go over just how you can run for city council and how you can be instrumental in a child’s life in this leadership role.

How to Run

Running for city council really is not that difficult at all, and can actually be quite easy depending on your locality. The first step you should take is to visit city hall and get the necessary paperwork. If you don’t have transportation, you can call their main office and see if the forms are available online; that way you save a trip there.

Usually the first thing you do to run for city council is to sign an affidavit stating your intention and identifying your person. You will need a few forms of identification for this.

After this you will need to get your name on the ballot. In most cases for this you will need to gather a certain number of signatures from citizens registered with the locality that you are running who are also registered to vote. It’s usually not too many, usually just 50-100.

You may need to fill out some additional forms depending on your area, but that is pretty much the basics of getting signed up to run.

Next all you have to do is start talking to people about why you’re running. You could write a letter to the editor, or ask friends to do the same. You can hold fundraisers or community meet and greets. The main thing is that you want to be seen in the public eye so that you have good name recognition.

For Those In Office

Once you get into office is when you can really demonstrate your value as a community leader. First and foremost you will need to fulfill your duties as an elected official: make sure that the city is on the right track, has a balanced budget, its local businesses are doing well, and the citizens are happy.

Using the office of an elected city councilman is a great way to inspire kids to become community leaders, but it’s a double-edged sword. Not all kids have good role models to look up to and if you can provide a struggling child or student with the role model and mentor they need that is great, but you need to realize that being a public figure you will attract extra attention to your everyday life, even on the local level. If this isn’t something you’re ready for, you might want to think twice about running. If it doesn’t sound like a problem, great!

Some great activities for local council members include volunteering at charities, attending local school functions, benefit concerts and events, and running in local marathons.

Community Highway Beautification

highway-projectEvery year my local chapter of the Black Community Leadership Alliance organizes a volunteer outing to beautify a stretch of highway that bisects my hometown as a part of a community beautification campaign that has been ongoing for almost 8 years now. In this post, I want to outline a few of the great positive effects that can be found in taking advantage of community-based campaigns like beautification efforts.

Getting Involved

One of the best effects that programs like this one have is that they get kids involved in community based outreach programs early on. Time and time again we see kids drift away from school, from their home lives, or from the community simply because no one is asking them to participate. It seems almost too simple of a solution, but it pays off in multiples. Studies show in marketing, politics, and countless other fields that if you ask someone to participate in a certain activity that they are much more likely to participate. Think about that. We could possibly be reaching hundreds more kids just by asking them to participate in community activities.

Meeting Community Leaders

Another aspect of community based volunteer programs that benefits kids is that it allows them to meet their community’s leaders. It puts them in touch with people that they might otherwise not really think of personally. For instance, many kids know about their mayor or their city councilmen, but seeing them in person and even working directly beside them can make a huge difference in the life of a struggling student. It personalizes these people, shows the kids that they are accessible and, yes, even the leaders are out doing hard work with everyone else. It gives the kids someone to look up to.

Gives Pride in Community

Another huge positive that campaigns like this instill in kids around the community is a pride in the place that they living. This point cannot be understated in my opinion. After all, it’s hard to take pride in where you live when it’s full of garbage or run down, but by participating in beautification efforts, you can not only show these kids that hard work yields some great rewards, you can also give them a reason to have pride in their newly beautified community.

Thinking Outside of the Box

Our community has chosen to pick up the stretch of highway near of town. Don’t think that this is the only beautification project that you and your group can do, however. We chose this project because it fits our community’s need and our location. We have a heavily trafficked road that divides the town that collects a lot of garbage; so cleaning it helps everyone in the community. When picking your own beautification project, you should decide on one that similarly fits the needs of your town. Perhaps you have a large artistic community and having community-wide mural contests would be more appropriate. Anything is possible; just be sure to keep your mind open for new ideas.

I hope that my yearly project inspires your and your community’s leaders to do the same in helping out the children in your town.

After-School Programs for Inner City Youth

handsGrowing up in the inner city is difficult for any child, but there are undue burdens that are placed on black youth and especially young black men. In many highly urban, inner city areas the pressure for young black men to begin gang activity can start as early as 12 and 13 years old. Many black children see this as their only way out from a system that has failed them, and choose to go down this route as the only means they have for providing for their families.

In this post, I want to talk about the important role that after-school youth programs can play in the development of young black men in keeping them off the streets and encouraging them to pursue an educational path for success.

As I said earlier, the pressure to get involved in gang activity can start at a very young age in many inner city areas. We see it start most frequently in children that are starting to gain more independence from their homes while also drifting away from school. It’s important to offer students who have become disenchanted by the school system not only encouragement to continue their studies but also alternatives that can help foster a student’s re-interest in school.

For instance, perhaps your child or a child that you are mentoring has an interest in music or art. While these two disciplines are not directly related to reading or science, they are both academic classes that will likely be taught at the student’s school. Many cities have after-school art and music programs that can work wonders in a child’s life by creating a new passion for learning. By focusing their attention on developing their artistic and musical skills, you can encourage your child to take any art or music classes that their school offers and they will quickly see school as something beneficial and not simply a chore. Many times students will be able to join marching band at their school and then go on to do the same in college.

Another common set of after-school programs is theatre programs. Inner cities have countless community theaters that are constantly looking for talent to participate in their productions. Actually, a lot of the time there are adequate funds for full-scale community productions but no actors willing to participate. This is another great venue that you can encourage your child to participate in, should he show any interest in such an activity. Theater is a great activity that can benefit your child greatly. It will expose them to a great art form as well as introduce them to a new group of friends all with similar interests to them.

Most of these options have to do with the child participating, but don’t fret you can help out too! These organizations and community-driven programs are always looking for volunteers and any help that you can lend would greatly help out these charitable groups in their efforts to keep kids safe and off the streets.