21st Annual Grant Award Fundraising Event



We would like to take a moment to thank our partners for sponsoring our 21th Annual Grant Award & Dinner. Your support and partnership will play a key role in the success of our event, and we appreciate your participation!

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21st Annual Grant Award  Fundraising Event

Thursday, October 12th, 2023 

The Board of Directors of the Uplift Our Youth Foundation Cordially invites you to attend our 21st Annual Grant Awards and Fund Raising Dinner 

Doors open ~ 6:00pm Program ~ 6:30pm Dinner ~ 7:00pm

Crowne Plaza Hotel & Conference Center 925 S. Creyts Road Lansing, Michigan 48917

Honorary Co-Chair $125 per person (1 Dinner Reservation & Program Acknowledgment)

Dinner Reservation Only $75.00 per person



Carolyn Stone


I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior at the age of 11 years old at First Street Missionary Baptist Church in Nashville Tennessee. There were two elderly women at my church who mentored me during my childhood that I have very fond memories of and who had such an impact on my life. They were Mother Baines and Sister Wilson. It was because of them that I taught Sunday School classes, worked in Vacation Bible School, attended Baptist Training Union (BTU) and sang in the adult choir. Sunday School has always been a very important part of my life because it was through the Sunday School lessons that I came to know Jesus and decided to give Him my life. Later in my married life with Pastor Stone I formed and directed a youth choir at Carroll Street which was an inner city church in the projects in South Nashville. Pastor Stone and I visited the projects and recruited children and youth to sing in the choir. Because of my love for singing, I joined different singing groups and I joined Bobby Jones’ group when he first started his Nashville group. At Friendship Baptist Church at 925 West Main Street and also at 2912 Pleasant Grove Road, I was the director for Vacation Bible School, developed and directed the Children/ Youth Church for many years and became the youth director under Pastor Nicholson. Also, I spoke on several occasions for the Women’s retreat and at other churches. Because of my love for teaching, I knew early on that I wanted to be a teacher. So, I graduated from Fisk University summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. I taught English, literature, and reading at the middle and high schools for seven years in Nashville, Tennessee. After moving to Lansing, Michigan in 1982, I became a part-time professor at Lansing community College and Davenport Business College where I taught English, Writing Composition, and Business Writing. Later I became the multicultural director at Lansing Community College. This position gave me experience in planning multicultural events at LCC. Later I attended Michigan State University and graduated magna cum laude with a Master’s Degree in Education Administration/ Curriculum Development with a minor in Communication. With Pastor Stone’s insistence I went on to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Education Administration K-12 at MSU. Lester was able to see his mom walk across the stage to receive her hard-earned degree. Hard earned because it took some time to achieve it. I thought about giving up several times because of the sexism and racism I experienced in a male dominated field at that time, but Pastor would not let me quit. To this day, I am so glad he did not let me give up. It is because of my education and training that many opportunities have opened up for me. Presently I am a Student Support Specialist at Reo Elementary School. I work with students K-3 who have social and emotional issues that interfere with their learning in a regular classroom setting. I provide them with strategies and coping skills they can use to help them in the classroom setting. For the first time, Reo had a choir that I started and a dance group. 


During my ten-year tenure at Reo School, I started a safety patrol squad. Prior to Covid-19, I nominated a Reo student for Safety Patroller of the Year Award, which she won. This year I nominated another student and applied for a grant for the safety patrol. The winner for each has not been determined yet. In addition to this, I started a Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts program at Reo, which have been very successful and have continued every year. I recruited MSU students from the Center for Community Engaged Learners to be tutors and mentors for Reo students. They came twice a week and spent two hours per student. The students loved the one-on-one attention with the MSU students. They looked forward to the students coming and spending time with them. I also established a backpack and coats give-away for the children and youth in the community to make sure children had the necessary school supplies when they returned to school and to make sure no child would be cold. I am constantly looking for opportunities to engage youth in extra-curricular activities where they can discover and demonstrate their natural talents and gifts. From my own experience in growing up, mentorship is very important. I am so thankful to the two ladies who mentored me and now I am trying to give back to others. This is me. This is who I am. I did not get here on my own. God has blessed me in so many ways and He has put people in my life who helped to shape me into who I am today. I am so thankful and grateful.  

2023 Spotlight On Excellence


Okemos High School

My name is Bryce Brown, and I am currently a junior enrolled at Okemos High School located in Okemos, Michigan. I have a 3.8 weighted grade point average and I spend significant time studying for my academics. The classes I currently take are Precalculus Honors, American Literature, Advanced Placement US History, Philharmonic Orchestra, Advanced Placement Chemistry and Spanish 3. Some of my extracurricular activities include being the current Vice President of The Okemos High School Junior Class, a member of Student Council, Key Club, Health Occupations Students of America, a Mentee of The Turning Point of Lansing, a member of the Okemos High School Chamber Orchestra, and a member of The National Honors Society, and the Black Student Union. When not studying or being involved in extracurricular activities, I find value and personal satisfaction in volunteering. I have done so at Lansing Neurosurgery, National Honors Society Blood and Food Drive, Mobile Food Pantry with the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.-Kappa Delta Lambda chapter based in Lansing., and plan on volunteering at the Roseland Daycare in Chicago, Illinois over the course of this spring break. My plan for the future is to pursue preliminary medicine courses in undergraduate study, and I have started my journey to achieving my goals at the beginning of high school. I will eventually pursue medical school with the intention of studying neuroscience. I attended the Health Science Scholar Institute at MSU and will be attending the National Youth Leadership Forum for Medicine at Rice University come summertime. Later this year, I will be applying to colleges and trying to determine what school I will attend undergraduate school. I plan on applying to Michigan State University, University of Michigan, UC Berkeley, Emory, John Hopkins, and Harvard.

NIA L. Long  

East Lansing High School 

My name is Nia Lynette Long. I am 17 years old and attend East Lansing, Michigan, High School. I was born in Lansing, Michigan at Sparrow Hospital on April 30, 2005. I reside in East Lansing with my mother and father. My father is Octavis Long. He was born and raised in Lansing, Michigan and attended Sexton High School. He attended MSU as well and played football and ran track. He went on to play professional football for a year before beginning his career in Federal Law Enforcement. My dad is an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity, Inc. My mother is Lynette Long. She was born in Detroit but raised in the suburban Detroit area. She attended Wayne-Westland schools. After high school, she attended Michigan State University (MSU), where she participated on the Women’s Track and Field team. Also, while at Michigan State, in 1998 she was initiated into the Delta Zeta chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Inc. She is also active in the AKA, Chi Epsilon Omega Chapter in East Lansing, MI. She works as the VP, Talent Management at Emergent Holdings/Blue Cross Blue Shield. My brother, Conner, is 19 and is a 2021 graduate of East Lansing High School. Conner attends the University of Kentucky, where he is majoring in Political Science. Conner is also a member of the Kentucky football team where he plays Outside Linebacker. Conner served as the Jack and Jill of America, Inc. Mighty Mid-West Regional Teen Nominating Chair for the 2020- 2021 Program year. I attended Pinecrest elementary and MacDonald Middle Schools in East Lansing. In school, I always enjoyed art because it allowed me to be creative and mostly work without structure. Unlike, my brother, I have always been quiet, and some would say shy. Art allows me to express myself nonverbally.


My family joined Jack and Jill of America, Inc. in 2010 when I was 5 years old. That is my first recollection of participating in community service. I recall going to the Haven House, a women and children’s shelter in East Lansing and serving Christmas breakfast to the residents. I absolutely love volunteer work because it gives me the opportunity to work with others and experience people of all walks of life. I am a member of Union Missionary Baptist Church in Lansing where I serve as a volunteer for the “Be A Star” tutoring/mentor program. This program focuses on tutoring and mentoring children in grades K-5 specifically in the areas of Math and Science. Since 8th grade, I have served as a tutor/mentor for reading and math. I am also a member of the Black Student Union at East Lansing high school and am a member of the National Honor Society and student council. I have served as an officer in my Jack and Jill Chapter since 2018. I served as teen chapter President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. I attended the On the Hill Teen Legislative Summit in Washington DC in 2021 where I was able to learn from teens all over the country. I have also attended several MI/OH Area Workday Cluster. Last year as Teen President, I attended the Teen Leadership Conference in St. Louis, MO where I served as the voting delegate. The prior year, I served as the delegate alternate at Teen Conference. In 2020, I placed second in the Greater Lansing Commission, Martin Luther King, Jr. essay scholarship competition. My essay was titled “Do You See Me?” and it centered around colorism and attending a predominately white school. In 2023, I was a finalist in the Greater Lansing Commission, Martin Luther King, Jr., essay scholarship competition. This year, my essay focused on the question, “ Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand of racial Injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.” I believe representation matters and I’m committed to using my position on student council to serve as a platform for change. In 2018, I was awarded the Presidential Award for have over 120 volunteer hours through Jack and Jill of America, Inc. I come from a sports family, so naturally sports are a huge part of my life. I began competitive All-Star cheerleading at 8 years old. During my time in competitive cheer, I acquired Level 3 tumbling/gymnastics skills that allowed me to travel and join larger teams. I also participate in track and field. I run for my school and for an AAU track club. I am a nationally ranked Shot Putter (18U). I am also an eight-time All-American and AAU Jr. Olympian. I was extended an invitation to compete at the Invite only New Balance Indoor Track and Field Championship in New York City in 2022 and the Nike Indoor National Championship in 2023. I was recently named to the Lansing State Journal, Track and Field Dream team for winning the Shot Put in the CAAC-Blue Conference, Regional, and State qualifier. I also ran on the 4×100 relay team which won 8th place at the Division 1 Track and Field State meet in June 2022. My hobbies include art, shopping and being with friends. I enjoy designing ceramics, watercolor art, and any type of art design. I also value time with my friends. My brother was not able to attend his last year of high school in person due to COVID. He didn’t have a homecoming and all the other things high school is known for. But mostly, he never saw most of his friends until it was graduation day. He tells me that I am lucky to be in school and that I should value time with my friends before we all leave for college because those are the things he missed most. It’s hard to believe this is my last year of high school. It seems like years ago this day would never come. I look forward to the next steps of my life and trying to prepare for change. My goal is to attend a HBCU, specifically Howard University, North Carolina A&T State University, or Spelman College. I am hoping that college provides an opportunity for me to learn more about myself, while gaining my degree. I desire to see what life has to offer me outside of Mid-Michigan. I want to go into project management. I would like to serve as a player personnel leader in an athletic department and then maybe one day secure a role in the C-Suite as a NFL, NBA, WNBA, or large firm Project Consultant.

Past Award Recipients


Big Brother ,Big Sister, Michigan Capital Region, Increasing School-based matches – $5,000

Capital Area United Way, College Access Network, FAFSA Flocked 2022 – $3000

Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center., Art Encounters – $4000

Les Meres et’ Debutantes Club of Greater Lansing Alumni Association , Health and Wellness – $2500


Grit Glam and Guts Programming – $2,000

Lansing Art Gallery and Education Center/Art Encounters – $2,000

Carol Greer Learning Center/School Support Program – $2,000

Building Child And Family Initiatives Stem Ahead Camp – $2,000

Capital United Way Capital Area Access Network/FAFSA Flocked – $2,000


Michigan Dyslexia Institute – $2,500

Kids Turning Corners – $2,500

Kids Repair Program – $1,500

Building Child And Family Initiatives – $2,500

Womens Center Of Greater Lansing – $2,500

Lansing Art Gallery And Education Center – $3,000

Lansing Spartans Youth Org. – $500


Kids Turning Corners, Inc. – $2,500

Building Child & Family Initiatives – $2,250

Capital Area Literacy Coalition – $2,000

Churches of Greater Lansing – $2,500

Lansing Art Gallery, Inc – $1000

Beekman Therapeutic Riding Center – $1,500

The Turning Point of Lansing – $2,250

St. Stephens Church Carol Greer Community
Learning Center – $1,000


Kids Turning Corners, Inc – $2000

Building Child & Family Initiatives – $1500

Village Summit – $2500

Michigan Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence – $2000

Eastside Community Center – $2000

Lansing Art Gallery, Inc – $1000

Gridiron Summer Institute – $1000


Building Child & Family Initiatives – $2,000

Beekman Therapeutic Riding Center – $2,000

Eastside Community Action Center – $1,600

Kids Repair Program – $1,400

The Carol J. Greer Community Center – $3,000


Boys & Girls Club of Lansing – $2,000

Child and Family Services of Michigan, Inc. – $2,500

Kids Repair Program – $1,200

Kendon Elementary School – $2,000

New Mount Calvary Baptist Church – $2,300


Beekman Therapeutic Riding Center – $1,400

Child and Family Services of Michigan, Inc. – $1,000

Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan – $1,400

ITEC – $1,000

Kids Repair Program – $1,200

Lansing Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation, Inc. – $2,000

St Stephen’s Community Church – $2,000


Kids Repair Program – $1,000

St. Stephen’s Community Church – $1,000

The Turning Point of Lansing – $2,500

Child and Family Services of Michigan, Inc. – $500

Highfields, Inc. – $2,500

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Epsilon Tau Sigma – $2,000


Lansing College Access Network – $1,000

Beekman Therapeutic Riding Center – $1,000

Southside Community Coalition – $1,000

The Turning Point of Lansing – $1,500

Kids Repair Program – $750

New Mount Calvary Baptist Church – $1,000

Reach Studio Art Center – $750

Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan – $1,000

Capital Area Literacy Coalition – $1,000

Northwest Lansing Health Communities Initiative – $1,000 


St. Stephen’s Community Church – $1,200

Highfields, Inc. – $1,200

Dream and Vision Manifested – $1,000

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity – $1,500

Black Child & Family Institute – $2,000

Boys and Girls Clubs of Lansing – $2,000

Eastside Community Action Center – $1,100 


Beekman Therapeutic Riding Center – $1,500

D.A.N.C.E, Inc.

(Developing & Nurturing Community Empowerment) – $1,800

Big Brothers Big Sisters Michigan Capital Region – $1,000

Eastside Community Action Center – $1,200

Closing the Digital Gap – $500 Black Child & Family Institute – $2,000

Capital Area Golf for Youth, Inc. – $1,000

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity ETS Chapter Educational Fund – $1,000 


Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity ETS Chapter Educational Fund – $1,500

St. Stephen’s Community Church – Community Outreach Center – $1,500

Antioch Cares Community Development Corp. – $500

Big Brothers Big Sisters Michigan Capital Region – $1,000

The Turning Point Lansing – $1,500

Lansing Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation – $1,500

Northwest Initiative – $1,500

Black Child & Family Institute – $1,500

Beekman Therapeutic Riding Center – $500

Worship Without Words – $1,500


Beekman Therapeutic Riding Center – $1,500

Worship Without Words – $2,000

Antioch Cares Community Development Corp. – $1,000

Big Brothers Big Sisters Michigan Capital Region – $1,500

Ele’s Place – $1,500

Boys & Girls Club of Lansing – $2,500


Black Child & Family Institute – $3,500

MI Foundation for Education Leadership – $1,000

Inspirational Ministries – $1,500

Gateway Community Services – $2,000.00

Westside YMCA – $2,000.00