Internationally-renowned author, educator and motivational speaker Baruti Kafele will be the featured speaker at the University of the Virgin Islands’ fourth annual Man-Up Male Empowerment Conference. The conference is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 3, on the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix and on Tuesday, Feb. 4, on the St. Thomas Campus. The theme of the conference is “Man-Up: Creating a Positive Future.” The male empowerment conference, an initiative of UVI’s Brothers with a Cause student organization, is aimed at motivating young male students to pursue a college education.
Principal Kafele, as he is widely known, has molded the lives of students for more than 20 years. He is one of the leading authorities on professional development strategies for creating a positive school climate and culture, transforming the attitudes of at-risk student populations, motivating black males to excel in the classroom, and school leadership development. “As one who has delivered over one thousand presentations over the past 27 years, this Male Empowerment Conference will rank amongst one of the most important conferences I have ever addressed,” said Kafele. “I urge you all to attend as I will focus my remarks on empowering men to achieve the impossible, the unthinkable, the inconceivable, yet attainable."
As an education speaker and consultant, he works with hundreds of schools and districts to assist them with closing what he has coined the “attitude gap” – the gap between those students who have the will to strive for academic excellence and those who do not. “We feel that here in the Virgin Islands we have such a mix in our population also,” said UVI Special Assistant to the President Dr. Haldane Davies, who leads the Man-Up Committee. “We want to be able to have more young men with the get-up and go and fewer with the well I’m just here. We feel that the message he has to bring will be a dynamic and positive one.”
Kafele has been an educator in the public school system in New Jersey for most of his professional career. As a middle and high school principal he led the transformation of four different schools. “The Mighty” Newark Tech went from a low-performing school in need of improvement to national acclaim. U.S. News and World Report Magazine recognized Newark Tech as one of America’s best high schools. He was also named Teacher of the Year while working as an elementary school teacher in the East Orange School District and the Essex County Public Schools.
He has written “Closing the Attitude Gap,” “Motivating Black Males to Achieve in School and in Life,” “A Handbook for Teachers of African American Children and A Black Parent’s Handbook to Educating Your Children (Outside of the Classroom).”
Award-winning national speaker, connection coach and self-help author Jonathan Sprinkles will give the second featured keynote address of the 2014 edition of the Man-Up Conference. “Jonathan Sprinkles is a dynamic, engaging, interactive, motivational speaker who uses his experience to connect people, not only to their inner strengths, but to those relationships that exist around us,” said Dr. Davies. “In so doing, those connections could aid us in our success.”
He added that Sprinkles is a young energetic speaker that delivers an important message sprinkled with laughter and humor that is sure to keep the student’s attention. His message is simple – connect with the success and lifestyle you deserve.
Sprinkles is author of "You Were Born an Original, Don't Live Like a Copy!," “Take Your Leadership to the Next Level,” and “Get Off Your ‘But’ and Make It Happen.” He is the president and CEO of Sprinklisms, Inc., a personal development company, which empowers people to exceed even their own belief about their potential.
The conference will also include a high-energy, foot stomping performance by the Omega Psi Phi fraternity’s National Step Team champions from Norfolk State University. Dr. Davies said those who are involved in step teams locally will be able to see other opportunities and get ideas on other routines that exist. For the first time, Man-Up will feature a high school Spin-Off DJ competition. Masters of music from local high schools will attempt to win this title, while entertaining Man-Up participants at lunch. Rashidi Clenance returns as master of ceremonies.
“Attending the Man-Up conference is truly important for all our male students as they face the daily scrutiny of what it takes to become a real man,” said Joseph Sibilly, VI Department of Education deputy superintendent. “The conference offers the right for those attending to say that they were in the presence of the future men that will be leading this community.”
The male initiative strives to reach out and inspire young men, middle aged men and older men here in the Virgin Islands on topics and issues that are relevant to all men. “The goal is to ensure that we make an indelible impression and impact on the Virgin Islands through the positive lives presented, projected and lived by men,” said Dr. Davies. “The Man-Up Conference is another great opportunity for us to engage the men of the Virgin Islands and for us to remind them that there is much potential within each of us. There is a future that each of us can create and make a dynamic change for our community.”
To learn more about Kafele visit http://www.principalkafele.com/ . To see a video use the following links:
- Principal Kafele Milken Video Profile at Newark Tech
- "What is the Attitude Gap?" Principal Kafele explains
- Message to Your Son - "Make this year your breakthrough year!"
Sponsors include the VI Department of Education, the VI Department of Human Services, the Prior Family Foundation, College Access Challenge Grant and Attorney Joel and Jackie Holt. Register on at manup.uvi.edu or from this direct link. For more information contact Dr. Haldane Davies at (340) 693-1004 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.