Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.” It is a motto that UPI Education believes in and its founder, Frank Crump, has dedicated his life to ensuring that children receive the proper training that they need in order to navigate in a world that is becoming increasingly more demanding.
Having vast experiences to support his beliefs, Crump’s journey with education as a child was more like a dream come true. “Yale University’s, U.S. Grant Foundation came to the public school I attended in New Haven, Connecticut as a sixth grade student,” said Crump. “They said we want your top black male students. In as much, I became one of the selected,” he shared.
Being selected by the U.S. Grant Foundation, afforded Crump the opportunity to attend Math, Science and English classes, held on the Old Campus at Yale, for six years while being taught by the top students from Yale and Harvard Universities. As a result of his stellar training, Crump could select practically any college that he wanted to attend. “That really opened up my eyes to the importance of education,” he admitted.
That was not the only thing that Crump realized after receiving the best education a young Black male could only dream of in the 1960s. He also noticed a vast difference between himself, the other boys who received the same training, and those who did not receive it at all. This realization coupled with his passion for progress, would lead him to look for more ways to make a difference. That difference became UPI Education.
UPI stands for Unified Progress International and it was founded by Crump who first began working in the nonprofit sector with former National Football League (NFL) player great, Jim Brown, of the Amer-I-Can Foundation located in Los Angeles, California.
Crump joined Amer-I-Can as Executive Vice President. The foundation taught life skills to inner-city youth and helped many LA city gang members and others across the country to turn their lives around. ”We were changing people’s lives, but we were catching many of them after they became gang members or after they were locked up.” Crump reflected.
Crump felt that the Amer-I-Can curriculum was very effective for its targeted audience and that such a program should be taught in every school across the country. With that in mind, he started UPI and created a UPI Life Skills Solutions™ training program. His hope was to provide youth with knowledge and information so that they could avoid the pitfalls that so many young people face today. According to Crump, “The UPI program is for all students/youth as we prepare them for life’s challenges and provide an individual road map which sets them on the right path.”
The curriculum is a combination of Crump’s experiences growing up, lessons he learned from his jobs, and observations from his travels around the world. While each chapter is no more than 12 pages, “Every word has meaning,” Crump proclaims.
The UPI curriculum has been offered as an accredited class in high schools and has widely been used as part of the freshmen orientation for ninth graders. With so many students dropping out and leaving traditional schooling behind, Crump is pleased that as a result of UPI, more young people are treating school with more importance.
Wanting young people to move away from the victim mentality and to embrace their greatness is something that is important to Crump. In conclusion, he likens the UPI program to good old fashioned home training that so many children can benefit from.
In addition to teaching practical information to help people prepare for life, the organization also provides resume assistance, college preparation courses, and interviewing tips on how to prepare for a job. “The program is also available for adults. We can work with anyone,” he reminded.
VIEW LIFE SKILLS ARTICLE ON PAGES 12-13