“The passion came from being that person that you wanted while growing up,” said transfer communication studies student Brittany Dudley (she/her).
Dudley and her sister recently finished the first session of their program, McClam University, which aims to help middle school and high school girls from low income and urban communities navigate everyday life. McClam University is a part of the McClam brand that Dudley and her sister are creating, which also includes McClam Accessories and McClam Closet. Both entities are partners of Committed Community Mentors, a program run by Tyrone Morris, CPH ‘12 (he/him).
Named after their mother’s last name, the sisters have become entrepreneurs through McClam, and aim to teach the skills they’ve learned to the young girls that participate in McClam University.
“Seeing how she has been able to support and empower these young women into new positions in life is more than merely admirable,” wrote Director of Undergraduate and Communication Studies Scott Graston.
While Dudley was studying at the Community College of Philadelphia, she interned at The Murrell Dobbins Career and Technical Education High School with Morris and Committed Community Mentors. There, Dudley worked with a group of girls teaching dance after school.
“I knew, through a continuation of her efforts at the community school, she was committed to helping people,” Morris said.
When Morris was awarded a contract by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office to develop violence prevention interventions for young women and children, he decided to partner with the already existing McClam Accessories and McClam Closet to create McClam University.
The combination of Dudley’s innate aspiration to work with kids and Morris’s mentorship turned McClam University from an idea into a reality.
“We wanted it to be a program where the girls can walk out of this with something,” Dudley said. Over the course of four months, the first session of ten girls met twice a month to learn about everything from ways to better the businesses they run to life skills like budgeting and taking care of your mental health.
The cohort also started a closet inside of a homeless shelter that is opening soon in North Central Philadelphia, and they went on a trip to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Dudley hopes that future cohorts, the next of which will hopefully start in June, can travel to other places since many of the participants haven’t been anywhere outside of Philadelphia.
“The more we expose them to, the more I feel like it’s going to really help them,” Dudley said.
Dudley is a strong advocate for girls continuing their education and encourages everyone to try the college experience. After a field trip to Temple University when she was in sixth grade, Dudley set a goal to attend Temple and finally realized her goal when she transferred in the fall of 2021.
Coming to Temple was a bit overwhelming due to the larger campus and classes than what she was used to at the Community College of Philadelphia, Dudley said. One thing that helped her immensely, though, was the Klein transfer seminar course she took where she got to connect with other students like her.
Currently, Dudley and her sister are working on preparing for the next cohort of girls to apply to be a part of McClam University. Dudley is excited about doing a session in the summer since the girls will be out of school and scheduling meetings will be easier.
Morris is excited to keep watching the pair connect with the next generation of entrepreneurs and watch Dudley use the skills she learns in her communication studies courses to further McClam University’s mission. “[Business] may not be her specific major, but it’s something she does from the heart,” Morris said.
Post-graduation in 2024, Dudley hopes to use connections she made at Temple to have a full-time job either working with McClam or in another space. She will be happy for any opportunity to boost either side of her professional career.
“Her work is changing people’s lives,” Gratson wrote.