The UNT Dallas Rising Blazers program was featured on NBC 5 for Father’s Day on June 20, 2021. NBC 5 reporter Yona Gavino interviewed Nakia Douglas, Executive Director, TRIO and Pre-Collegiate Programs for the University of North Texas at Dallas, about how Rising Blazers connects youth in South Dallas and Oak Cliff with role models.
The article from the NBC 5 website is duplicated below. To read the original article and watch the clip that aired on NBC 5, click here.
UNT Dallas’ Rising Blazers Connects Kids in Oak Cliff and South Dallas with Mentors, Father Figures
The UNT Dallas Rising Community Youth Development Program helps connect kids with role models.
It’s a free program that provides father figures and mentoring services to nearly 300 students in Oak Cliff and South Dallas.
These communities are most in need says Nakia Douglas, who grew up in South Dallas.
“As long as we’re willing to nurture and develop them, the sky is the limit,” says Nakia Douglas, Executive Director, TRIO and Pre – Collegiate Programs for the University of North Texas at Dallas.
Douglas has been an educator for 24 years.
He now oversees the UNT Dallas Rising Blazers Programs.
“We get to create opportunities where there may have been none. We get to provide learning, not only for the students and participants but also for the service providers,” says Douglas.
Service providers like the YMCA, For Oak Cliff, and the Boys and Girls Club host outings for the kids.
This weekend, the Mark Cuban Heroes Basketball Center hosted a Father’s Day event for some of the kids in the program.
“I took my own children to be part of the Father’s Day photoshoot, so that was exciting for them to see some of the families,” said Douglas.
Previous events included a visit from Dallas Police Chief Eddie García, where he fired up the grill and spent time with the families.
Douglas hopes more men realize the impact they can make in their own communities.
“Whether or not you have biological children, you still have power to make an impact, and you still have the power to model what excellence looks like within your sphere of influence,” said Douglas.
The program is extending and will be able to serve up to 500 students.
It’s free for kids in four targeted zip codes in South Dallas and Oak Cliff.
Service areas includes participants who live and/or attend schools in the southern (South Dallas – 75210 and 75215) and South East (Oak Cliff – 75241 and 75216) Dallas.
You can get more information and register your child for the program here: https://www.risingblazers.org
The program is funded by the the Community Youth Development Grant under the State of Texas Health and Human Services Department.