Black History Month 2014 – Yasmine Arrington

“The tassle is worth the hassle!” – Yasmine Arrington, founder of ScholarCHIPS

I found out about this lovely woman when I was researching the organization Black Girls Rock, Inc. She was featured as one of the M.A.D. Girls during the 2012 awards show. (See the video link here.) M.A.D. stands for `Making a Difference` and this phrase could not be more true for this wonderful individual. She and I have emailed back and forth less than 10 times and her spirit, joy, and overall awesomeness have blown me away. I can’t wait to actually get to know her so I can be transformed for the better. This is her story.

Yasmine Alexandra Arrington was born and raised in Washington, DC. She is currently a junior Strategic Communications and History double-major at Elon University in North Carolina. At Elon, Arrington sings and serves in the Elon University Gospel Choir, as president of Potter’s Poets, a radio personality on WSOE 89.3, and is an Elon Arts & Sciences College Fellow conducting independent research on “The Effects of Parental Incarceration on the Educational Outcomes of their Offspring in Washington, DC from 1970 to 1990.” She is also a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Their principles are Scholarship, Service, Sisterly Love, and Finer Womanhood.

Having been the child of a previously incarcerated parent, in 2010, Arrington founded the non-profit ScholarCHIPS to provide college scholarships and mentoring for graduating high school seniors of parents in prison, pursuing a higher education. To date, ScholarCHIPS has awarded over $19,000 in college scholarships.

If Yasmine’s personal story doesn’t resonate with you for the inspiration of this budding non-profit organization please take a look at this quote from Johnston, D. * “The Care and Placement of Prisoners’ Children”.

“An estimated 200,000 children in this country have an imprisoned mother and more than 1.6 million have an imprisoned father. With the nation’s incarcerated population growing by an average of 6.5% each year, the number of children with parents in prison will likely continue to increase. Parental incarceration — and the crimes and arrests that precede it — causes chaos in the lives of these children, including traumatic separations and erratic shifts from one caregiver to another. Most children with incarcerated parents live in poverty before, during, and after their parents’ incarceration.”

These facts coupled with Yasmine’s personal experiences as a child of an incarcerated parent are the reasons why ScholarCHIPS exists and the reason why we all have a stake in the success of the children of incarcerated parents. Yasmine is just finding her way to give back and help other young people achieve the dreams they have set for themselves.

Arrington’s latest projects are her blog entitled, “Young, Black, and Beautiful…In College,” and her YouTube channel “YazzieSpeaks the Truth,” both in which she examines the realities of being a black female attending a predominantly White institution, aims to excite Black youth about the vast possibilities of a collegiate experience, and gives her clean, humorous commentary on real life events. In addition, Arrington is a poet, motivational speaker, and plus size model. She aspires to be a Broadcast Journalist and TV show host; two occupations that will allow and empower her to inform the community about social injustices, recognize entrepreneurial businesses, and highlight positive changes taking place.

Check out Yasmine being featured in Essence Magazine, Empower Magazine, Teen Vogue, and the Washington Post.

This is just the beginning of Yasmine’s story and I CANNOT wait to see how bright her star shines.

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