Thursday, December 30, 2010

With each year

With each passing year, I become wiser as a father, husband and founder of L.E.A.D.  Wisdom often comes from mistakes made.  That's why I love the New Year.  The New Year cleans the slate and allows redemption.

Be ready for an aggressive push by L.E.A.D. to get more African-American males in college through baseball.  A 34% graduation rate of black males from Atlanta Public Schools is unacceptable but we are all working together for a positive change.

2010 was great for L.E.A.D., but with each year, God has blessed us beyond our request.  I'm claiming success for L.E.A.D. and Atlanta in 2011.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ordinary people doing extraordinary things

The difference between being ordinary and extraordinary is simply doing a little extra.  Jason Heyward is a great example of an ordinary person doing extraordinary things.

Jason provided a weekend for our Ambassadors that included getting haircuts followed by a visit to Lenox Mall where know one left empty handed.  The next day, Jason treated us all to the "Waiting For Superman" documentary.  After a great movie, we discussed it over some good food at Applebee's.

Our Ambassadors had an exclusive weekend with Jason that they will never forget.  It was empowering in addition to being fun.  Our Amabassadors said it best, Jason is just an ordinary person that does extraordinary things.

Ringing the bell

On Saturday, December 11th, the L.E.A.D. Ambassadors rang the Salvation Army kettle bell at Lenox Mall.  We greeted mall patrons with holiday well wishes as they responded with smiles and donations for the Salvation Army.

This was a refreshing sight with so much crime happening around our city involving so many young African-American males.  Doing good felt so good was a comment by one of my Ambassadors.

We rang the bells as loud as we possibly could in various locations throughout the mall with 25 Ambassadors.  My prayer is that everyone saw a civic minded group of young men that is starting a new trend of leadership in Atlanta through service.  The sounds of the bells echo that the L.E.A.D. Ambassadors are here and we are proud to be creations of God and thankful for this opportunity to be L.E.A.D. Ambassadors.  We are our brothers keeper and together we will achieve greatness.

Broccoli with cheddar cheese

I remember our inaugural L.E.A.D. Ambassador season in 2007 like it was yesterday.  One of our Ambassadors Joseph McCrary was in his senior year of high school at Redan with aspirations of competing at the collegiate level as a student and baseball player.  He maintained above a 3.0 GPA with solid  test scores.

Through exposure that L.EA.D. provided, he is now in his junior year of college at Savannah State University.  In addition to being a starting infielder on the baseball team, he also carries a 3.6 GPA.  He is majoring in accounting and hopes to work at a top accounting firm upon graduation.

Several people ask us is L.E.A.D. just a baseball team.  One of the aspects of L.E.A.D. is the strength of our network in corporate America.  I am proud of my board of directors and supporters because in addition to providing financial resources, they can provide career opportunities for our Ambassadors.

Deloitte is one of the top accounting firms in the U.S. and is based in Atlanta.  By the grace of God, Joseph has an opportunity to work as an intern at Deloitte this upcoming summer.  Working at Deloitte will truly change his life and his community.

Teaching baseball is the broccoli while providing career opportunities is the cheddar cheese.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I entered the doors of Grove Park Elementary as a kindergartener in 1981.  I was a student at Grove Park Elementary School until 1986 when I moved on to middle school.  I remember Alonzo Crim being our Superintendent.  He was always at our school visiting and making sure that we were committed to excellence.

I loved coming to Grove Park every day to see our principal Mrs. Jones.  She was tall and beautiful and always called me a “handsome young man”.  Something as small as that made me want to be the best student that I could be.

Our field trips at Grove Park were amazing.  Every year, we would attend the Center for Puppetry Arts, High Museum and the Fox Theatre.  My second grade year, Mrs. Jacobs took us on a plane ride to North Carolina.

I knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur after Career Day in the 5th grade.  There was a man that came into our classroom that had so much confidence.  He was speaking my language because I always wanted to be a business owner.  Now I knew the route to take to accomplish my goal.

I remember taking my peach-colored Quotable Quotes book from Benjamin E. Mays.  We read quotes from this book everyday as a school.  I still have that book today and the quotes are still empowering.

I am the leader that I am today because of my APS experience.  The entire school system embraced me and I felt like an asset of the Atlanta.  APS provides much more than an education.  It is all about being prepared for the rest of your life.