We had the good fortune of connecting with Omar Durham and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Omar, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Throughout my career, I’ve worked at various independent and private education institutions as a certified special education teacher and athletic coach. My expertise in the education system allowed me to influence, mentor, and cultivate several underprivileged and at-risk students and athletes.
In 2018, after 13+ years of teaching, I decided to disconnect from the current education system that was failing our youth in the core education and emotional development skill sets needed for college acceptance and life preparedness. There was so much red tape as a teacher and going independent through a non-profit allowed me to do more. So, I dedicated my career to assisting students by reconnecting their cultural, emotional, and educational gaps.
From this concept, Bridge The Gaps was formed.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My career and work through Bridge The Gaps has allowed me the opportunity to adjust based on the needs of our community. As we continue our work on programs such as Family First, BTG EDU, BAMM (Behavior Attitude Mental Mentoring), and Play 4 Purpose, we’re also flexible and able to react quickly to opportunities such as Real Talk 4 Real where we seek, educate, and empower young men and women to become champions in their lives and their communities by avoiding the pitfalls of destructive thinking and negative choices. In today’s fast-paced environment, students need to understand there are real repercussions associated with their choices and actions. Bridge The Gaps is here to help them navigate those choices, where often public education falls short.
Our children and young adults are exposed to various negative and violent lifestyle choices through social media videos and song lyrics. It is no longer adequate to simply tell our children to stop watching real-life violence on social media or to stop listening to negative and violent lyrics in certain songs; especially when our children learn far more on social platforms than many do at home. We must meet our children and young adults where they are in their “social media learning stage” and offer education in the form of deconstructing what they see, and hear while attaching real-life consequences to negative lifestyle actions and poor decision-making.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Right now my favorite places to visit are our local high schools and middle schools, especially in the Spring ISD sector. In all honestly, the young men that I mentor are happy to see a familiar and consistent face. In addition, with TEA takeover talks happening in HISD, we’re watching the start of how education is changing and how those changes are impacting our schools…our kids. It’s imperative to stay ahead of confusion, fear, and concerns. Having talks similar to those we’re holding at Bammel Middle School really helps with positive affirmation and staying ahead of confusion; all elements preventing students from learning.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d love to take a moment to thank my newest partner, Terrence “Coach Tee” Sampson. He’s been instrumental in a new joint venture program offering onsite high school and middle school mentorship through our Real Talk 4Real program. Real Talk 4Real is an outreach program that discusses real-life scenarios and their consequences. Onsite workshops will deconstruct various viral social media posts depicting violence, domestic violence, and bullying and have discussions about the real-life consequences associated with those actions. Sessions will also listen to various songs that speak to acts of violence, drugs, and a street lifestyle, deconstruct those lyrics and attach real-life consequences to those actions.
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