AAMI students give back through DJ’s charity weekend initiative
Kenosha Unified School District’s African American Male Initiative students participated in a weekend charity event organized by Carey Norris, also known as DJ Mr. 262.
The weekend marked the 10th year Norris has reached out to influence the youth and community members to give back to the city of Kenosha in a unique, positive way. The event began as a hats and glove drive but has since grown into a much larger event.
In addition to raising more than 1,000 hats and gloves through generous donations, Norris has teamed up with supporters throughout the city, including KUSD’s AAMI students with the help of KUSD Coordinator of Student and Family Engagement Willie Days, to read to Brass Community School kindergarteners, volunteer at the Shalom Center Food Pantry, participate in a Bowling to Make a Difference event at Guttormsen Recreation Center and serve a Thanksgiving dinner to the less fortunate at the Shalom Center.
For AAMI students, it was a gratifying experience to be a part of the giveback festivities.
“I grew up privileged enough to have what I needed, but not everyone does, so I feel like I need to look out for the youth and help out where I can,” Indian Trail student Nathan Turney.
Students spent the day reading stories to Brass students and volunteering at the Shalom Center stocking shelves, helping clients shop, loading groceries into vehicles and organizing donations.
“It feels heartwarming,” Bullen seventh-grader Anthoni Sanders said. “I like being able to take the time to give back to my community.”
AAMI was created in KUSD’s quest to narrow the achievement gap and has since expanded this work to include the African American Female Initiative (AAFI). Both initiatives focus on cultural awareness and academics and emphasize the importance of college and career readiness.
For Norris, seeing the effects the event has on both the volunteers and those they’re helping encourages him to keep it going each year.
“This is about the youth,” he said. “Kids relate to people who look like their older siblings at home, and it teaches the older kids, too, because these kids remind them of themselves at that age. They can relate to one another, and that’s when they make an impact.”
Norris was raised in Chicago, Ill., but has grown into more of who he is today during his time living in Kenosha, he said, which is why he does the majority of his charity work here.
“I didn’t always have such a positive outlook on Kenosha,” Norris said. “I saw a lot of negative things that I wanted to change for the better. As I got older, I had to come up with more, different ways to give back – not just connecting our block, but impacting our whole community.”
Norris said he is living out his purpose daily, but this event helps capture his reason for being on earth in just one weekend. Norris feels his career has been a true blessing to his life and has much appreciation for all the people who have helped him along the way, so he finds it important to pay it forward to the youth and community.
To donate to the event or for more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about KUSD’s African American Male Initiative, contact KUSD Coordinator of Student and Family Engagement Willie Days at email@example.com or 262-359-6237.