Introducing Mrs. Robinson, after school parent activist

| November 25, 2015
Eric Hackley

Eric Hackley

By Eric Hackley

Mrs. Robinson has three children who attend the Fort Wayne Urban League After School Program. She and I discuss an education model that was created to stimulate self-directedness within young blacks while engaging them conceptually in the political economic process. The following conversation explains in part how we intend to achieve this:

Eric Hackley: Mrs. Robinson, do you have any comments about our approach to supplement the education of young people who attend the FWUL After School Program?

Mrs. Robinson: You have to tell me specifically what you’re asking me.

Hackley: Our intention is to instill a sense of social responsibility like voting, a stronger self-awareness and mentally getting them in touch with their goals and ambitions, then documenting the aforementioned to enable them to draw upon these experiences later in life.

From my own experience, I believe that if you’re on TV at a young age, that experience will in most cases ease your fear of going on television in later years. Or if you had a chance to speak in front of people as a kid, when you’re older, it’s not that big of a deal to speak in front of people. We have a theory of how we can nip the fear of demonstrating leadership assertiveness in the bud right now by having kids talk on TV in front of people at an early age about their goals and aspirations, right now.

Is there any reality there?

(Left to right) Mrs. Robinson with her children Brandon, Nina and Naomi Robinson. [photo: Eric hacklEy]

(Left to right) Mrs. Robinson with her children Brandon, Nina and Naomi Robinson. [photo: Eric Hackley]

Mrs. Robinson: Yes there is. I was watching some of your youth’s interviews and it didn’t seem as though the questions you were asking them were prompting them to speak a certain way, or talk a certain way or say a certain thing. It all seemed so natural, like a clear flow.

When you look at and listen to what they’re saying, a lot of the information presented by the questions that were asked, they had a pretty good understanding what the question was and how to respond to the question. I thought that was nice.  I thought that was beautiful. I was surprised seeing the video regarding that.

Hackley: At the recent Urban League Gala, I had the opportunity to interview people like Marshall White the CEO of UNITY Performing Arts Foundation Inc., Ted Williams, the owner of McDonald’s on South Anthony and the interim Fort Wayne City Clerk Michelle Chambers and a lot of other people. It was surprising that they all would remember back when they were five, six and seven years old and setting goals. So apparently it’s not that strange of an idea and it apparently is important.

Mrs. Robinson: Yes it is important to set goals at that particular age. A lot of times I believe that most of them already have a pretty good idea around the ages of 5 to 7 about what they really want to do.  I think in order to get them to that particular state, and it’s ok if it changes, but a lot of times it doesn’t change very much. But the goal should be to make sure we keep them focused on what they said they wanted to do. Give them options and ideas and try to relay what their goals are according to what they need to study for. And then present them with other options.

Hackley: One of the things we want to do is capture these kids in a mode of doing something right. We want to create and capture moments of their time so that in future years, they’ll have snapshots of real moments that can be used as positive motivators to guide their journey through personal self-awareness and life in America.

Please let me be personal for a moment. What did you do with you daughter because she is so full of energy, enthusiasm and when I asked he questions from different perspectives, she always presented well thought out answers.  How did you instill the ability to  listen in depth within her  at such a young age?

Mrs. Robinson:  With all my kids, I talk to them. I give them other ways at looking at things depending on the subject.  Even when we’re driving along in the car, certain ideas pop up, or something we might see during our travels that might spark me to have a comment about it.  At that point I’ll say, “Hey, did you look at it this way, have you considered this?”  And then, we’ll have a discussion about various different subjects.

Hackley: Why do you feel it’s important for parents to come in and express their views on this program and some of the innovative things that we’re doing here? Why do they need to voice their concerns and say something about this?

Mrs. Robinson: Well that goes for anything that individuals are participating in. If you’re going to participate in the process, you need to first know what that process is and what you’re actually participating in before even going into the process. This way you’ll have a clear understanding of what’s expected of you.  So if you understand why you’re there, what you intend to do and what the expectations are, then at that point if you have any additional questions, then you can expound, ask more questions or perhaps give your opinion. Sometimes they want it and sometimes people don’t want your opinion. Sometimes you have to give one even if the individual isn’t looking for that.

Hackley:  I want all the Fort Wayne Urban League parents of the children who attend the After School Program to interview with me concerning to goals and student activism of their young people.

The video interview featuring Mrs. Robinson can be seen at the following link.


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Category: Community, Education, Features, Local

About the Author ()

Eric Hackley is a veteran independent journalist, television show host and producer focusing largely on history, particularly family history in the black community. His award-winning public access television shows have featured a host of local and national icons. Hackley can be contacted at

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