A group that was started in Crossett and Hamburg has now opened a chapter in Oklahoma and plans to add a Pine Bluff Chapter next month.
Shanae Govan, the Crossett High School basketball coach, started a program called Level UP with hopes to do more than improve a sports programs. Govan started working on the project in the summer of 2018 with plans to expand to at least three different areas. Not only did Govan reach her goal of three, but she is now about to celebrate her fifth opening.
“We have grown tremendously, we started with just Crossett and Hamburg and now have four active campuses in Crossett, Hamburg, Warren and Oklahoma City,” Govan said.
On Jan. 28 Govan went to Oklahoma City, Okla. for the Level Up start up event and on April 27 will got to Pine Bluff.
Level Up is a mentor program for young girls in each chapter’s community.
“The goals of the group are to help lead young girls towards their destiny and teach values that help them identify with their worth, self-esteem, success, growth, and integrity,” Govan said.
Govan said she has always had a heart for mentoring and when she lived in Mississippi she worked with a similar project.
Govan said getting the program started in Crossett was easier than she originally expected.
“I was led to reach out to certain businesses for sponsorship and then I reached out to the community for a place to hold it,” Govan said.
Govan said churches have contributed donations as well as a few businesses in the community and that the Crossett Youth Center agreed to be the central location for meetings.
“Gates Chapel AME Church is a big supporter as well as Southeast Insurance, Rose’s Realities and Speak Life Speaks, a ministry out of Baltimore Maryland and also McMillian Law Firm, they’ve all contributed to the program,” Govan said.
Several women in the community have also joined the group to help in whatever what they can. “I’ve had several reach out to be future speakers to our girls also,” Govan said.
The Crossett Level Up was barely off the ground in Crossett before Govan was able to expand her group to Hamburg and then later to Warren.
“I was able to speak with the principals of Hamburg and Warren to get them involved and they immediately accepted and offered as much help as possible,” Govan said.
Level Up is centered around dealing with the holistic approach on becoming a better person in order to overcome barriers in society.
“I want these girls to realize they don’t have to compromise to fit in, they don’t have to sell out to get ahead in life, and they don’t have to settle for less,” Govan said.
Govan said not only is she happy to see new chapters and Level Up growing, but she is especially proud of how much the girls have grown this year and how much they enjoy the program.
“In the beginning a lot were very shy, but several people who have been added were because our girls recruited them at school,” Govan said.
Govan said starting the group has been a blessing and she is happy to have the surrounding areas join her so quickly.
“I plan to have my girls (the Crossett chapter) go out more and speak to the community about what level up is,” Govan said.
Level up in Crossett added a youth choir that performs at various events. They are also are getting ready to host a Youth Explosion this Friday where all youth from local churches are invited to attend. Govan said the keynote speaker is Dr. Precious Belin from Baltimore.