Glass Half Full Award: Honoring Kwame Scruggs, Ph.D

Dina Younis \
September 27, 2019

GAR Foundation is honored to present Kwame Scruggs, Ph.D with the 2019 Glass Half Full award for his steadfast and inspirational leadership of Alchemy, Inc.

Dr. Scruggs is the founder and director of Alchemy, a non-profit organization in Akron, Ohio established in 2003. Alchemy uses mythological stories to engage urban adolescent males. In 2012 Alchemy was one of 12 programs to receive the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities—the nation’s highest honor for after-school and out-of-school programs. Alchemy was also the backdrop for the award-winning, feature-length documentary, “Finding the Gold Within.”

Alchemy, Inc. core group
photo c/o: Alchemy, Inc.

Dr. Scruggs has over 20 years of experience using myth in the development of urban male youth. He holds a Ph.D. and MA in Mythological Studies with an emphasis in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California. He also holds a MS degree in Technical Education with an emphasis in Guidance and Counseling from the University of Akron where he also completed all the course work for a MS degree in Community Counseling. In 1993, after being formally initiated into the Akan System of Life Cycle Development (African-based rites of passage), Kwame became a Certified Facilitator of this process.

Lithcfield group
Photo c/o: Alchemy, Inc.

In 2016, Dr. Scruggs was one of seven recipients awarded the National Guild’s Milestone Certificate of Appreciation and one of three to receive the University of Akron’s Black Male Summit Legacy Award.

Photo c/o Alchemy, Inc. Facebook page

He is a recently appointed board member of the Joseph Campbell Foundation and serves on the National Advisory Committee of the Creative Youth Development National Partnership.

In typical Glass Half Full fashion, we set out to get to know Kwame a little better by asking him a few personal questions, including why he always sees the glass as half full.

What song best describes your work ethic?

“Matter of Time” by Kem. In myth, a common theme and character trait of the hero is perseverance, not giving-up in the face of numerous obstacles. When I was creating Alchemy, it was a very stressful time (9 months) due to my not really working during that time (long story). I almost gave-up but two separate conversations assisted in me persevering a little longer. I would listen to this song EVERY DAY, telling myself, it was only a “matter of time.”

Tell us something about your job that inspires you to keep working there.

I am with our Alchemy youth from 6th-12th grade. Without question, it is seeing the youth grow-up, mature, and become insightful after a 7-year period. There is not a better feeling in the world (for me) then having the youth return expressing how much Alchemy, the myths, quotes and their journals played such a critical role in their development.

What is the last book you read?

The Genius Myth” by Michael Meade. I’m presently reading, “The Art of Inquiry: A Depth- Psychological Perspective” by Joseph Coppin and Elizabeth Nelson.

If you had your own talk show, who would your first three guests be?

John Thompson, Jr., former head coach of the Georgetown Hoyas . . . WE ARE, GEORGETOWN!!!
Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm)
Halle Berry (no explanation needed – [smile])

Why is the glass always half full?

When Christine Mayer informed me this was the title of the award, I literally busted-out laughing; I’m a far stretch from optimistic!  I thought, “What irony.” However, as Christine mentioned (paraphrasing), “No, Kwame is not the prototype optimist, but he rolls with the punches.” This brings us back to perseverance, so, I guess, stretching it, I am somewhat optimistic (slight smile) . . .


For more about Alchemy, Inc. and ways you can support the program, visit http://alchemyinc.net/