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HIGH SCHOOL SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS stand during their awards presentation. (From left to right) Debonaire Anthony Laws, Amber Outlaw, Mia Brumfield, Candiss Hart, Jennifer Sandoval, Tyler Hamilton and Abel Daniel.
In a utopian society, a child's first hero would be a parent. Children grow looking up to dad and mom as their first role models. In the real world, fathers are often over looked or graciously give their own attentions over to the mother. Mablean Ephriam, celebrity judge from Fox’s ‘Divorce Court’ has taken it upon herself to divert her attention, and the finances of her successful foundation, towards fathers with a star studded awards and scholarship brunch she has deemed the ‘11th Annual Honoring Unsung Fathers (H.U.F.) Awards and Scholarship Brunch’ on June 16 at Long Beach’s Hyatt Regency Hotel.
The Mablean Ephriam Foundation was founded by Mablean Ephriam in 2002. Ephriam is best known for her feisty, take-no-mess attitude on the long running show. The attorney shows her caring and generous side however, by hosting this year’s tribute to fathers everywhere.
“This year we are awarding ten scholarships,” she said, “to seven high school students, two students on their way to Howard University, and one student in the nursing category. ‘The Mablean Ephriam Nursing Scholarship’ was given in honor of my mother, who died in 2010. The scholarship winner started his life on a rocky road, but has turned it around. And at age 40, he just completed his LVN, and is about to enter nursing school for his RN.”
Among some of the scholarship winners was Amber Outlaw who plans on attending Tuskegee University as a journalism major.
“Upon Ms. Ephriam coming to the ‘Torch Awards’ this year, she actually invited me to apply [for the scholarship,]” said Outlaw. “I’m gonna actually use this money to pay off my loans while I’m still in school. A lot of it is also going towards my books, because I want to buy them new and not used.”
“It is important that we reach back and help these young people achieve their goals to go to college because financial aid is lacking, the economy is bad, parents have lost jobs,” said Ephriam. “So we just want to say, to them, that, “We are encouraging you with the few dollars that we have.” We want them to succeed, because they are our future. This group of young people is so amazing, I am more confident than ever that our future is bright.”
Hosting the brunch was funny man Michael Colyar who emphasized being a positive presence, because according to Colyar, “comedy is my ministry.”
Musical highlights included jazz musician Michael Phillips and rhythm and blues songstress Jennifer Holliday. Phillips, whose jazzy saxophone based rendition of gospel classic, 'Going Down Yonder' brought the crowd to their feet in unified singing of the chorus.
Among the scholarships awarded was the ‘Unsung Awards’ that honored hardworking fathers, such as the ‘Fatherhood Forever’ award given to hard working single fathers who work hard to take care of their children.
Presenting the various awards were celebrity presenters HBO’s Edwina Findley, actress Shari Headly, best known for her role as Eddie Murphy’s love interest in ‘Coming To America,’ and ‘Soul Food’s’ Vanessa Williams.
“The Judge Mablean Ephriam Foundation is working on a new project for this summer called ‘S.T.E.M. Science Technology Engineering and Math,’ said Ephriam. “We have partnered with Perry Middle School, which is our [The Judge Mablean Ephriam Foundation’s] adopted school. We are going to get about thirty students involved and enrolled with ‘A-Man Inc.’ introducing them to the sciences, technology, engineering and math, so they will not fear these subjects and we will be able to compete globally with the rest of the world in these areas.”
For more information about the Judge Mablean Ephriam Foundation, to volunteer or become a mentor go to www.mableanephriamfoundation.com.