Category Archives: Focus on Achievement

A 12 part series of problems and solutions facing academic success of children of color.

Cotton Pickin’ Paycheck-A 21st Century Journal of Escape from Slavery

by Joan E. Gosier

by Joan E. Gosier

I am so thrilled that I was able to publish this week my FIRST BOOK in a series of 3 future books called, “Cotton Pickin’ Paycheck-A 21st Century Journal of Escape from Slavery”. It describes some of the prayers and journal entries that I captured to keep me focused on the path that GOD put before me at various points in my life. I wrote the book to inspire my children and their children to DO THEIR BEST AND AVOID THE NAYSAYER.

My prayer is that it just inspires anyone to TRY TO DO.  So many messages are surrounding us to say that it is not worth TRYING UNLESS U ARE PERFECT WITHOUT BLEMISH OR STAIN.  That message I feel keeps people powerless, ashamed, and stuck in a place that makes them go into a cycle of dysfunction. 

So rather than WAIT until the book is perfectly completed, I thought I would put my theory to the test and show that sometimes imperfection allows us to see “If she CAN DO it, why can’t I?”  

Sort of like when a it pours down raining and a person rolls by with a smile in a wheelchair.  People with both working legs should feel a pang of guilt for being unhappy as they run to shelter holding their umbrella.  Every now and then, U may witness a soul, go BACK and help that person in the wheelchair…something that perhaps blesses BOTH PEOPLE in the end. 

If we ALL WAIT TO BECOME PERFECT TO DO OR SEEK OUR PURPOSE ON EARTH…I think we miss the point of JESUS coming to earth…IMHO.

I sort of have this theory that only an engine can move a train out of the station…NEVER THE CABOOSE.

So often we as a black community allow our focus and energy to remain on the CABOOSE and complain that it is growing too heavy of a load…but THAT is what a CABOOSE does.

Those who have the energy, vision, skill and will have to reduce egos and act as ENGINES. 



Filed under Early Child Education, Family Culture, Focus on Achievement, HBCU kidz, Inc., Parenting Resources



Achiever in Training


Focus on Achievement-#12 of 12 in a Series of Discussions


By Joan E. Gosier, CEO of HBCU kidz, Inc.


Definition of GAP [a problem caused by some disparity] Pronunciation: \gap\ Function: noun

Science +Math +Artifacts of Culture +Reading +Test Taking Tips (S.M.A.R.T)=Gap Closure

This article marks an important milestone in concluding our 12 part series in communicating a message to our audience “WE CAN CLOSE THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP FOR OUR MUNCHKINS AT HOME”.


So now our families are faced with preparing for an interesting holiday shopping season huh? Why not try something new and different in a new and different economy?


With the increased pressure from the financial bail out, it has been predicted that most Americans will be changing their spending habits on everything from education to healthcare needs. However the experts are all banking on one group to remain steadfast in its spending habits despite the crumbling economy! The Black woman. Why?

According to the research there is a 20% gap in the likelihood of a family deciding to buy “private label and generic brands” if it suddenly found itself with less money between black families and white families

According to a new study by ING, as much as 68 percent of Black women say they buy what they want in a good or bad economy.. A staggering 41 percent say they feel guilty about how much they spend on expensive brands.

[SOURCE: She-Lia Henry, controller for DiversityInc and president of the southern New England Westchester Chapter of National Association of Black Accountants (NABA)].

“Many were not taught good financial habits,” says Henry. “The African-American community spends more than any other ethnic group.” For many Blacks, budgeting is either not a high priority or is not done correctly. Among those surveyed, 72 percent of Black women said they strongly agreed with the statement “I wish I had learned more about money and investing growing up.”

A study asked 1,000 professional Black women and 454 non-Black professional women about their spending habits. It found that 40 percent of Black women shop to cheer up and that Black women are also more likely to shop impulsively.

The experts say that although it is “unclear whether recent Wall Street events will curb spending habits for Black women, especially as some 85,000+ face unemployment.

But if there is a change, according to some analysts, it won’t be from an expensive brand to a generic brand–it will be from an expensive brand to nothing at all”.

According to a recent P&G survey, among Black women, 77 percent are “concerned” about how they’re portrayed in media, and 71 percent feel they are portrayed “worse” than other racial groups and 69 percent say such images negatively influence teens.

So I boldly ask the question why can’t this year our black women and our men prepare to invest in our families versus being tracked and mocked by consumer analysts for our wasteful spending habits?

Why can’t this be THE year that we invest in products and companies that are working to uplift, inspire and support our black children in image and self-esteem?

According to a 2006 Yankelovich MONITOR Multicultural Marketing Study there was a 24% gap in the belief that “My roots and heritage are more important to me today than they were just five years ago” between blacks and whites. I often wonder what is driving that gap. Like is that gap driven by our historical ties to family reunions or is it a renewed interest like the one I personally experienced from watching the Hurricane Katrina fiasco?

This same study noted that there was a 37% gap in the belief that they “make great effort to become more connected with my heritage” between blacks and whites. Personally, I know for a fact that I did not truly appreciate how little I knew about much of my own family roots until I proactively started asking questions and creating a scrap book for my munchkins in the fall of 2005. A complete change to my life sparked by Hurricane Katrina and later with Hurricane Wilma. Our family decided to DO something about this problem in our community.

We formed a company that seeks to inspire and celebrate the beauty of the black child and uplifts the black family surrounding the child.

According to the financial experts, “Between 2001 and 2055, African Americans will transfer $1.1 trillion–$3.4 trillion of their wealth to offspring; Black women are expected to be the gatekeepers of this wealth transference.”

But did U know that there will be 200 Black-female college graduates for every 100 Black-male graduates by 2010? The number of master’s degrees conferred to Black women increased 149.5 percent between 1991 and 2001. This all comes down to the fact that Black women reportedly have the highest labor-force-participation rate among women in 2004 at 61.5 percent, versus 58.9 percent for whites!


Our gift giving to our children can act as a catalyst for change and improvement this 2008 holiday season!

So please follow my logic. Stop wasting money and invest in our FUTURE DREAMERS, LEADERS AND ACHIEVERS!

There was a 15% gap in percent of first-time kindergartners whose teachers reported that the students pay attention “often” or “very often,” between black children and white children (source: Status US Department of Education NCES Status and Trends in the Education of Blacks pg. 47). If our children are not paying as much attention in kindergarten…what will happen by college? Are they even thinking about college at such a young age?

The children in my extended family do! They already see the connection to learning each day in school to answering the questions such as:

  • “How do things really work in life?”
  • “What do I need to know to be a pilot?”
  • “What do I need to know to be President of the United States?”
  • Or my favorite, “Mommy, what is the highest number I have to (be able to) add to be a doc-tor?”


Well isn’t it coincidental that, according to the 2005 U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey there is a 13% gap in adults with at least a bachelors degree between blacks and whites?

So it seems that there MAY be a correlation between inspiring an interest in learning new things at any early age and having increased future opportunities!

Now I guarantee that if U actually try some of our unique and inspiring gift products, U will find that they actually work to inspire a different mindset in our future leaders, dreamers and achievers. We truly believe that we are investing in our future through our little gifts of love.

This fall season, why not review in your home what are the differences between “name brand” vs. generic brands in ALL products purchased? U may be surprised to see how some things ARE truly unique and one of a kind and others are just a decorated box.

Self-confidence and perceptions of value are such important gifts to give our children. Ask a child what things have impacted him or her being able to enjoy learning so far this year. For example, “What have U learned so far this year that U did not know already?” Listen carefully to the response. It may reveal that he or she is NOT engaged in the learning process or is not able to communicate what he or she is being exposed to in school.

Take time to hear what specific information God has placed in your heart to teach a child. My mom always used to say, “Proverbs 4:5 Get wisdom. Get understanding!”

Really explore just how much your child feels that spending more for a brand name is critical to fit in with his or her peers and what value is that going to bring to his or her life in the long term? Is it a quick fix or is it perhaps a mask for deeper esteem issues?

Look at how others who are consistently around your child feel about the above ideas and options. Explore if these behaviors are ones that should continue or is it best that they be broken and healed in a tight economy?

When U look at different branded products from companies why not choose the ones that provide school rebates, savings bonds, coupons, rewards, special programs, gift products or other incentives that encourage success for the children in the community? Does the company give back to YOUR child? Why or why not?

Doesn’t it make good sense in this tight economy to seek out and support businesses that offer programs/products/services/initiatives that positively promote black children and their achievement?

Visit sites such as and share an email to 2-10 friends on why they should join and frequently shop for their children’s gifts. Spread the word if U previously had a good experience with a business.

This series is intended to be a work in progress. What I am doing as an individual, and what others are doing as well. Together we can learn some new things and reinforce some things we already knew. What do you think? Can we work together?


The Achiever in Training and S.M.A.R.T curriculum are exclusive copywritten and proprietary programs developed by HBCU kidz, Inc.


For more statistics and academic resources please visit and click on “Educate.” To comment on this article, visit the Blog. To communicate with other concerned Black parents, please visit


For more information about the program or the limited edition gift collection, visit The site contains information and ideas to proactively promote positive images for African American children and their families. Contact Joan Gosier at 1-888-HBCU-kid.




Joan E. Gosier




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