Sunday, January 30, 2011

It was a better day for Atlanta

On Saturday, January 29th, we hosted our "Meet the Ambassadors" event in Marietta. We invited several current and future supporters of L.E.A.D. to participate in baseball drills with our Ambassadors.

There was so much laughter in the air. It is something about baseball that connects people. Connecting people is what allows L.E.A.D. to use baseball to transform inner city Atlanta communities.

All of our guest wore there stylish L.E.A.D. Ambassadors t-shirts and had a chance to swing a bat for the first time in years under the tutelage of myself, Jamaal Hawkins (Minnesota Twins) and our Ambassadors. Several guest like Sam Bacote (investment banker) and Tom Hughes (Hope-Beckham PR) brought their children and they were also able to join the fun.

Daver Preter, Georgia's Own Credit Union CEO was in attendance with his young son. Ambassador Desmond Stegall showed him the proper way to extend his arms during the swing for power.

Chad Scott of 680 The Fan and Kristi Dosh (Sports Biz Analyst for SportsMoney on and Comcast Sports Southeast) both got some one on one training with me. I showed them exactly how Jason Heyward hit his first major league home run.

Chicago Cubs major league utility player Bobby Scales manned the bunting station while Eugene Heyward (father of Jason Heyward) handled the soft toss cage. I heard that Barbara Greene has potential in both aspects of baseball.

All in all, it was a great day to spend time with our amazing coaching staff, parents, supporters and the Ambassadors. It was a great for L.E.A.D.  It was a better day for Atlanta!

Monday, January 17, 2011

I will take service to a new level

Dr. King has been an inspiration to me since I can remember. As a child, celebrating the King Holiday with reverence was an absolute must. We watched documentaries all week in school leading up to the day. Our church service honored him as a man of God and you were always reminded of Dr. King because there was always a photo somewhere in the house of him.

Now that my childhood days have passed, I have become busy with stuff and haven't celebrated his legacy the proper way.

The past four days have been a reconnection for me to Dr. King; a connection that I so desperately need as a husband, father and the founder of L.E.A.D.

I celebrated the legacy of Dr. King Friday at Ebenezer Baptist Church with my mentee Jason Heyward during an ESPN Town Hall Meeting discussing the image of the black athlete. Dr. King was a fan of sports and fought to make sure that black athletes were judged by the content of their character instead of their skin color. The image of the black athlete was portrayed as negative on Friday just as it was when Dr. King was alive.

I celebrated the legacy of Dr. King Saturday at the Celebration of Greatness Dinner at the Hyatt Regency. I enjoyed the celebration with three L.E.A.D. Ambassadors. We heard inspiring words from Ambassador Andrew Young and the wife of the late Senator Edward Kennedy. I left feeling the charge to empower youth in Atlanta and continuing to accept my role as a young leader.

On Sunday, L.E.A.D. was a guest of the Unitarian Universalists Congregation of Atlanta. Their pastor recited the last sermon of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The congregation also chose L.E.A.D. as the "Give The Plate" beneficiary. They actually donated the entire offering from two services to L.E.A.D. Wow! We are committed to connecting communities while transforming communities.

I celebrated the legacy of Dr. King on Monday serving as a Marshal for the Dr. King March. What an amazing sight to see our Ambassadors up front with Mayor Kasim Reed and Martin Luther King III.

I am truly empowered and energized to take service to a new level after my four day celebration of Dr. King.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thank God for the snow

Playing in the snow these past two days with my wife and daughters brought back so many memories from my childhood. Memories of playing football in the neighborhood with all of my friends until somebody got hurt. We were rough! I can't remember making any snow men being built but we had a lot of snow ball fights. I had a good arm and was really accurate so I enjoyed that the most.

For the first time in a long time, this week I was able to step away from my Blackberry and walk down the street with my family and simply enjoy the snow. I was able to hold my three year old until she feel asleep in my arms. I was able to experience the same free spirit that I had as a child.

These past two days while playing in the snow has reminded me to enjoy life. I allow so many things to distract me from enjoying all of the blessings around me. Being locked in the house allowed me to realize that I have prevented myself from enjoying the simple yet rewarding things that life has to offer like eating a bowl cereal while watching cartoons. I loved watching Tom & Jerry back in the day!

The snow will be gone soon but I have several photos that will remind me to simply enjoy life in 2011.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Warm hearts in cold weather

As expected, the temperature drops really low in the winter.  For the first time in a long while, we even had a white Christmas in Atlanta.   It may be cold outside but the hearts of Atlanta have really been warm.

L.E.A.D. has received a wealth of blessings from familiar supporters as well as unanimous individuals this winter.  As an organization, we are increasing the number of families that we are serving in 2011.  Support is crucial in order for us to carry out our mission.

Supporting L.E.A.D. in a major way can be done with time, professional services and/or recurring financial donations.  The young men that L.E.A.D. serves have committed to achievement in Academics, Athletics, Service and Exposure.  For their sacrifice, they are now in a position to access college and Transform Their Community.

In Georgia, 43% of African American males are graduating from high school.  Since 2007, 100% of L.E.A.D. participants have accessed college because of warm hearts like yours.