The VIPP Report: Miss USA Deshauna Barber will be in Louisville to speak at Black Achievers Celebration


By Sherlene M. Shanklin

With scholarship as their main objective, the Chestnut Street Family YMCA Black Achievers program announces their keynote speaker for their 41st celebration.

Miss USA 2016 DeShauna Barber will be the keynote speaker.  The U.S. Army Reserve Captain will motivate young aspiring leaders to stay disciplined as they follow their dreams even when there’s a hardship not to stop trying to reach their goals.

Youth Achiever of the Year is Tajalia Tillman who attends DuPont Manual High School.

The 41st YMCA Black Achievers Celebration will be held on Saturday, February 22nd at the Galt House Hotel at 5:30pm.  Tickets are $100 per person and they can be purchases and the Chestnut Street YMCA or by emailing

The YMCA Black Achievers Program includes events such as Spring Break College Tours, Community Service Projects, Leadership training, ACT workshops, college & career fairs plus much more.

I have the great honor of announcing the scholarships and institutions they plan to attend.  For many families, this will be the first time they will hear the school and the amount of scholarship money their child will receive.  It’s truly an exciting moment and I have to say that when I received the long list of names and the amount of money they will get in scholarships it’s super impressive and I can only imagine what their families will feel on Saturday.

Congratulations to the scholars of the Chestnut Street Family YMCA Black Achievers.  Our future is in great hands with your leadership.

The VIPP Report: Chestnut Street Family YMCA Black Achievers Celebration


With the rich tradition of the Chestnut Street Family YMCA from working tirelessly in the community, promoting health and wellness to making sure area youth have an opportunity to extend their educational endeavors.  For the 37th year, hundreds will gather for their Black Achievers Celebration.

The celebration will take place on Saturday, February 20th at the Galt House in downtown Louisville.  The dinner will begin at 5:30 pm and the program to honor high school seniors and adult achievers will be at 6:30 pm.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Dr. Calvin Mackie.  The inventor, activist and successful entrepreneur will encourage the youth to follow their dreams and to equiped themselves with knowledge by continuing their education.

Judge Olu Stevens will be this year’s adult achiever.  Stevens is an alumni of the program.  Both Mackie and Stevens have been successful in their careers but the night will belong to the youth.

Rachel Cooper is this year’s youth achiever of the year.  To obtain this prestigious honor Cooper has went above and beyond the standard requirements to graduate from high school.  This teen excels both inside and outside the classroom. She will receive multiple scholarship offers from universities both local, regionally and nationally.

Last year’s recipient accepted a full scholarship from Ohio State University and the 2014 recipient is excelling in academics and participating in campus events at Xavier University.

On that night, college scholarships will be announced.  Nearly, one million dollars will be given out from universities, colleges, fraternities, sororities, and organization both large and small.  They all want to be a part of the academic achievement of our youth.  I have the wonderful honor of announcing those scholarships.  For the first time, many of the scholars and their families will hear the amount, the universities and scholarships.

If you have never been to the event, I suggest you attend to see young people in our community doing positive things.

Tickets are only $75.  For more information contact Lynn Johnson with the Black Achievers Program at 502-587-7405.

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