Changing lives, one at a time! Here’s My story……….
I am the proud father of two beautiful daughters whom I’ve had the privilege of raising in a single parent household. I too come from a single parent household being the 2nd oldest of 4.
At the age of 18, I decided to search for my biological father in an effort to better understand his absence and hopefully find some sort of closure. It wasn’t until I was 44 years old that I was able to locate and meet him. While I am happy to have found closure in finally meeting my biological father, it still saddens me to know that so many other men also father children and bare no responsibility in raising them or being an active participant in their lives. I recognize and realize the importance of having a father figure in the lives of our youth. This is an important part of what drives me to do the work that I do. It also drives me to continuously work hard at being a good role model and father.
I am very fortunate and proud to say that both of my daughters are college graduates and have chosen to pursue careers in education, both currently working as teachers in neighborhoods were the need is greatest.
Unfortunately, unlike my daughters, I was not able to attend college directly after graduating high school because my mother could not afford the tuition, and we were unaware of the financial support we may have been eligible for through financial aid. My mother, in spite of attending a segregated school in the south, had aspirations of going to college and becoming a teacher; however, she became pregnant with my older brother in high school which resulted in her working in a shoe factory for almost 20 years rather than pursuing her goal of becoming a teacher. Witnessing her many struggles, I decided that I wanted more out of life. After graduating from high school, I decided to join the military in order to avoid the negative influences within my circle of family and friends in my hometown. I refused to surround myself with profanity, drinking, drugs, gambling, and fighting. Having an alcoholic stepfather, I witnessed much violence and physical abuse in my household, as my mother and stepfather fought constantly. I vividly remember two traumatic experiences in particular that occurred between my parents in my youth. One occasion consisted of my mother shooting my stepfather in the leg, and another consisted of her cutting him from ear to throat with a broken bottle, both times in order to protect herself from the continuous physical abuse. Although I was surrounded by many negative factors and influences, I will admit that I was fortunate in having a few good male role models in my life who taught me valuable life lessons, something that many of our youth are not privy to.
After completing my service in the Military, I decided to attend college to further my education, and to also fulfill my dream of playing college football majoring in Sociology with an emphasis in Children, Youth, and Families. As a consequence of me not taking school seriously at a younger age, I never developed a strong educational foundation. The result of this is that I struggled tremendously in college, having to work extremely hard simply to be able to keep up.
During my freshman year in college I learned that I was going to be a father. I immediately decided that regardless of the circumstances, I would embrace the responsibility of being a parent and always be present to support my family, ensuring that my children’s needs were met.
I now see that my investment in my children’s lives and future has paid off, which is why I have dedicated my life to helping other children become the best that they can be. With the right leadership and guidance, our youth will be successful in whatever they decide to pursue in life. The first step in making this happen is that we must invest the time and effort into their well-being.
My life’s experience entails a life similar to many of the youth I have served, and hope to continue to serve, which helps me to better understand the pain, anger and frustration that fuels their actions and reactions.
It is for these reasons, which I am very passionate about, that encouraged me to develop the Mentoring Through Actions (MTA) Leadership Program. The MTA Leadership Program is successful because it makes the essential connection between students, parents, schools and the community, which are critical components in the success of our youth.
This is only a brief look into my life to provide you with a better understanding of who I am, what motivates me to do this work, why it is a passion of mine, and what equips me with the knowledge and understanding to serve our youth and their families.