Event educates residents

Published: Thursday, January 19, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 18, 2006 at 11:18 a.m.
Local residents had a chance to register to win a car, get their blood pressure checked and receive information on a variety of topics Saturday during the "Empowerment through Education Symposium" held at the Martin Luther King Jr. MultiPurpose Center on NE 14th street.
A key feature of the event was the offer of free $50,000 life insurance policies by Mass Mutual Life Insurance Co. for those who qualify. To be eligible for the 10-year term policy, a person would have to meet age, income and health requirements. The $50,000 is to help pay education expenses of the insured's child/children.
Roger Dominey, head of the LifeBridge program for Mass Mutual in the area, said the program is a part of the company's charitable contributions to communities. "Our charitable endowment is education," said Dominey. "Why not give life insurance policies to families for educational purposes that might not be able to afford them on their own. We would love to have as many policies in this community as possible."f-z Dominey said he understands that some people might be skeptical about anything that is free, and that is why he depends on community leaders to help him spread the word about the free policies.
"We get community leaders to go out into the community to let people know that there is no catch," he said, noting that Alachua County Commissioner Rodney Long and state Rep. Ed Jennings Jr., D-Gainesville, helped put the word out about the LifeBridge program.
Dominey went on to say that the program has written in excess of 4,700 policies nationally, worth more than $235 million in coverage.
Long, welcoming people to the event, said he met a young lady recently who told him that she would not have the money to send her child to college.
"This is what this program is designed to do," Long said. "It will allow children to get an education for free." He urged people to tell their family members and friends about the program. "Mass Mutual wants to give out over a billion dollars worth of insurance for education," he said. Lisa Darling said she wish she would have known about the program earlier, but that she was taking the time out to get her grandson's father to apply for the free insurance anyway.
Roderick Seabrooks, the father of 2-year-old Javari Seabrooks, came with Darling to the Symposium. Javari's mother met an untimely death in 2004.
"Education is the key," said Darling, who heard about the program at her church. "It is like your health. This is a great program."
The symposium included screenings for HIV, cholesterol and high blood pressure, as well as credit counseling.

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