Everyday young black males in this country tackle life to get accepted in a world that doesn’t see them as a part of the future. In a world that is headed and run by white males in power to suppress our young black males from thinking they can’t achieve. However, this is only the half true. Many say that our young males lack the intelligences to become greater than a professional athletic or musicians/rapper. But I’m here to say that we as Americans in the media haven’t surrounded ourselves around these positive young black males that are achievers. Many of these young minds live in rural and urban America and have seized the moment of getting a great or even greater education and making a difference. They have value that brings promise in their lives as well as too others.
The Executive Director of Youth Development and Capacity Building Inc, (YDACBINC) of Dacula, Georgia, partnered with Director, Jean Harper of the Winton Self Help Youth Group, Future Generation 4H Group, in Louisville, Mississippi to bring a powerful message to the young males of Louisville, Mississippi and the surrounding area. The message was “Reaching Our Young Males and Making them Our Priority” Thus it became our mission to reach out to these young males and show them that they will Not Be Left Behind.
On August 15-16, 2008 YDACBINC descended on Mt. Moriah MB Church, in Louisville, Mississippi to tell the young males of Louisville that they won’t be left behind ever. Together with their Director, Jean Harper we launch the first male summit of its kind in Louisville. August 15, The Young Youth Male Summit doors opened to 65 plus African American males from the ages of 13-17. We were blessed with an outstanding keynote speaker in Hubert Hamer, Associate Deputy Administrator of Field Operations, of USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and a young man that grew-up in the rural south Tennessee. Mr. Hamer reach-out to the youth with a message of solution and promise. During the introduction by Chandon Mays a Louisville High School student and a winner of YDACBINC’s Book Scholarships for 3 years opened by presenting to everyone Mr. Hamer and his accomplishment before working at NASS.
Mr. Hamer brought a solid and direct message to the young males, “simple stay in school and get good grades”. He also discusses value and how you obtain your values while working towards your goals and achieving them. He asked how many youth have a B or better grade point average in school and 85% of the young males including Mr. Hamer son answer the call. He was elated to know that these young men were on point in reaching their goals and staying focus. Many questions were asked of Mr. Hamer while delivering his message and you could see the sense of pride on Mr. Hamer face and everyone in the audiences felt it too.
These young men felt good about themselves because they too had pride in their lives. After Mr. Hamer concluded we followed with Judge Robert Beck a Federal Judge and mentor in Louisville. Judge beck discussed Youth Criminal Justice and how to avoid from being in his court room. Staying in school was also his message, as he describes the problems that the court system faces daily. Many of OUR young males either in jail or deceased due to violence and drugs. He spoke with a force in his words and voice to make sure he had everyone’s attention. He wanted them to know that being good stewards and staying in school gets them the promise they are looking for in life.
The next day we had 8 training solutions and conversation on numerous topics. We opened with a hardy breakfast to help keep our youth in great form for a 9 hour day. Many of our youth lack the fuel needed for their bodies to perform well in the classroom so we always start by providing (fuel). Manola Erby, Youth Development Specialist from Alcorn State University brought a powerful message regarding obesity, nutrition, workforce development, and career options after the youth were fuel up. Many of the young man had questions regarding college and what can they do now to get ready. Ms. Erby replied” with hard work and developing your skills you can achieve.
During the Summit we were able to identify and reach all the males and answer their questions and take notes as well. The professionals that were in attendances as trainers/conservationist were also there to listen to these young powerful males and to understand what they are going through daily, because we really don’t have glue. As Executive Director of YDACBINC my discussion was about communications and how we communicate with each other. I asked the question, how do you get a response from someone? Getting results was the message they responded too. We had a spirited group of young males and everyone was impressed and received some form of satisfaction during my sessions.
While the programs were in session Jean Harper, Director had the young males at random to discuss what they had heard throughout the program. We were not amazed at what we heard because they all had a purpose for attending the Summit. To learned. Jean Harper has been nourishing these and other youth for some time now. Many of the young males that were in attendances, I have known sense they were in the 4th or 5th grade and now they are sophomores, juniors, and seniors in High School. The Summit had 8 cycles of Training and conversation to enhance their growth and we hit our target. We also had an additional program at the Extension office with about 25 young males from the ages of 3-10 and it was a Blast for them as well!
We have arranged to expand the Young Youth Male Summit every year. We briefly discussed it with Mr. Hamer about bringing the young males to USDA, NASS as well as other agencies within, so they can see how big government operates. It is very important that we show these young males what government is like and then they can begin to trust in it, our government. The Summit ended in celebration of life from Billy Metts, of Winston County on “The Steps on Sharpening the Minds”. Again a powerful message and one that the young males will remember as well.
I want to give a special thanks to Robert Smith of Louisville, Mississippi a person I met accidently. Mr. Smith grow-up in Louisville, MS but lives in Arlington, VA. While browsing on YDACBINC website he mistakenly thought that I was a person he had went to HS with in Louisville, and wanted to get involve in what I was doing in Louisville, MS. Mr. Smith a retired Army officer and private sector professional was in Louisville to see a family member that had taken ill. He took the time to come by the Summit and reach-out to the youth, even though he was in town for a difference matter. He stayed for both days and we appreciated him immensely with his wise wisdom. He also shared his recently published books with us “Maintain Your Momentum” and “You Are in Great Demand.”
But we couldn’t do anything without Jean Harper’s vision and her commitment to expanding the growth of these youth in Louisville. She has put together a staff that loves what they are doing and this brings smiles to each one of these youth. I am so proud to extend YDACBINC services and commitment to Louisville, Mississippi because her mission is for OUR mission.