I know that I can't save every troubled child in the world but I'm definitely going to try to save every Atlanta Public Schools student that wants to play baseball with the goal to access college. My organization L.E.A.D. provides inner city Atlanta youth access to higher education and civic engagement through baseball. For several inner city Atlanta APS students, going to college is non achievable due to social and economica circumstances.
God put the love of baseball on my heart at the age of 10. My relationship with Him, my family and baseball have made me the person that I am today and it's my goal to have a long lasting legacy in baseball..in this world. Paraphrasing Dr. King, I want people to say of me that I lived my life serving others, that I tried to love somebody and that I lived a committed life.
But for now, it's that time of year again when baseball becomes relevant in the U.S. The Braves are preparing to beat the Rangers in the 2012 World Series. Go Braves! You will also notice articles and interviews with regards to the decline of African-Africans in baseball. It humors me when it is said that African-American youth "choose" to play basketball and football over baseball. The reality is that baseball requires instruction and lots of time to develop the skills of hitting, throwing, fielding, etc. Access to professional instruction is expensive. The solution to this problem is a burdened man.
I am burdened and on a mission to increase the number of African-Americans that are competing in baseball at the collegiate level. Currently, there are less than 5% of African-Americans competing in the NCAA.
I never thought as a child that I wouldn't achieve my goal of playing professional baseball for the Chicago Cubs. I had too many positive people on my side; it was highly unlikely that I would fail. I won't fail the young men in Atlanta that have the same dreams I had years go. This thing has been a problem too long and I'm offering my life as a living sacrifice to be a part of the solution. L.E.A.D. Today...Change Tomorrow.
Atlanta Public Schools (APS) currently graduates 34% of its African-American males from high school. Going to college and graduating with a career for these young men changes an entire community.
L.E.A.D. succeeds with four pillars of excellence: academics, baseball, service/civic engagement and exposure. Since 2007, 100% of my L.E.A.D. Ambassadors graduate from high school and enroll in college while 89% enroll with a baseball scholarship.
This isn't rocket science. Making an impact can be done if you want to do it. You truly have to be burdened, willing and able. I have days when I feel that I am invincible then I have days when I question if I'm making a difference. I continue because God has put this on my heart to be a change agent. Inner city Atlanta was home for me as a child. Without my experiences, I wouldn't understand what young African-American males face daily. I have the capacity to help so that is what I will do.
When your only tool in life is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail. On my watch, inner city Atlanta males are receiving all of the tools required to access college and a career upon graduation. That is impact. You can impress people from a distance, but you can only impact them close up.
APS serves over 46,000 students and 79% of those students live at or below the poverty level. As a high school baseball player, expect to pay over $8,000 per year for training and exposure if you want to receive a baseball scholarship. Baseball isn't what it used to be. You have to pay to play today.
Through God's will, you can count on me to continue to knock down walls and open doors for any young man in this city that wants to play this game in college.
Why wouldn't I?
Somebody did it for me.
Help me help others through L.E.A.D.
1. If you love baseball, "Like" L.E.A.D. at www.Facebook.com/LEAD2Legacy
2. Join our L.E.A.D. Young Professionals Tailgate Club