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Buffalo State hosts speakers encouraging perseverance in at-risk teens

STAFF REPORTS

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Buffalo State's Upward Bound program is presenting the inspirational talk "Author Your Own Story: Persevere, Empower, and Succeed, 'No Excuses'" on Thursday, October 18, from 1:00 to 2:15 p.m. in the Jacqueline Vito LoRusso Alumni and Visitor Center. It is free and open to the Buffalo State campus.

The presenters are Howard Robertson, a former Rikers Island warden who spent 22 years with the New York City Department of Corrections focusing on rehabilitation, and Alvin Turner, a psychotherapist who uses a client-centered, existential, and cognitive approach to healing and is married to Buffalo State President Katherine Conway-Turner.

“The two presenters will convey the message to young people of how to not let obstacles get in their way,” said Don Patterson, the campus’s Upward Bound director. “Robertson has a great story of overcoming rather formidable obstacles himself. And I wanted to bring in Dr. Turner to share the psychological perspective of empowering one’s self in the face of adversity.”

Approximately 100 students from Upward Bound’s three Buffalo high schools—Lafayette, East, and McKinley—have been invited to attend. A Q&A session with the speakers will follow.

“The goal is to reduce violence in these students’ lives by helping them stay away from drugs and gang activity and focus on a more positive future, including college,” Patterson said.

Prior to the talk, the students will take a tour of the campus and have lunch in the alumni center.

Along with Buffalo State, sponsors of the talk include the Community Health Center of Buffalo and Carubba Collision. 

About Upward Bound:
Every summer since 1986, Buffalo State’s Upward Bound program has welcomed a group ninth- through 12th-graders primarily from Lafayette, McKinley, and East high schools to campus for six weeks where they take core academic subjects from certified Buffalo public school teachers and live in the residence halls. It started with 78 students and has grown to 97 each summer. Ninety percent of participants attend college; several have enrolled at Buffalo State.