Monday, December 17, 2012

EBC, it feels so good to be home!

Elizabeth Baptist Church is where I worshiped as a child. The church on the hill at Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in SW Atlanta. It is where I was baptized by Rev. Hightower. It is where I reached Webelos Boy Scout level under the leadership of Deacon Parker and Deacon Smith. It was the extended family of my awesome mom and dad. It is where I learned that serving others is an essential of life.

I remember one day as a teenager, a young man by the name of Craig L. Oliver, Sr. joined Rev. Hightower in the pulpit and spoke to our congregation. I was too young to appreciate anything that he said but I remember all of the adults commenting on how good he was.

As life began to get busy for me, I stopped going to church as often. Many years later at the age of 21, I got married and moved into an apartment complex on Cascade Road that was located less than 200 yards from the new location of Elizabeth Baptist Church that was now under the leadership of Pastor Craig L. Oliver, Sr.. Seemed like every time that we passed the church I would remind Kelli that I was baptized at Elizabeth.

I'm 36 years of age and still trying to figure out this thing that we call life. I have an amazing wife and two beautiful daughters and as of 6 months ago, my family and I are now active members at Elizabeth Baptist Church under the leadership of Pastor Craig L. Oliver. Our good friend Lisa Baker led us back here. I couldn't be happier to have a church home where we are spiritually fed as a family and empowered to serve others.

On yesterday, the L.E.A.D. Ambassadors joined us for a day of worship. The Ambassadors have been busy raising money in our Annual Dollar Drive and a check was presented to Lisa Baker (EBC member/L.E.A.D. Community Board) on behalf of Adina Parsons who is also an EBC member and was shot by her husband last year. She is recovering by the grace of God. This service project gave our Ambassadors the opportunity to learn about domestic violence and philanthropy. L.E.A.D.'s mission to provide at-risk inner city Atlanta youth males with access to higher education and civic engagement through baseball.

The L.E.A.D. Ambassadors with Minister Tim Sims at Elizabeth Baptist Church on December 16, 2012
God just continues to bless me and it is my daily desire to bless others. I have found that one of the best ways to be a blessing is to share my Christian testimony. There are bumps in the road but God keeps me headed in His direction and I can bring others to church with me. It feels so good to be back home EBC!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Inner City Baseball In Atlanta Took A Big Step Today

Inner city youth baseball in Atlanta took a big step forward today!

Casey Cavell, owner of D-BAT Atlanta finalized a partnership with L.E.A.D. that will all eight of our partner middle schools to have access to his 22,000 square foot "state of the art" indoor baseball training facility through the spring.  This is a big deal because now hundreds of undeserved middle school males in the Atlanta Public School system will have access to elite training provided by Diamond Directors at an elite training facility.

Click here to learn more about Diamond Directors and D-BAT Atlanta.

In previous years, our middle school teams wouldn't train in the winter due to a lack of facilities while our competitors trained in preparation for spring and summer baseball.

Some readers may say "good for L.E.A.D."  Ironically, this is good for Atlanta because the success of L.E.A.D. means that more young men are graduating from high school and college.  L.E.A.D.'s mission is to provide inner city at-risk youth males with access to higher education and civic engagement through baseball.

Did you know that...
  • Atlanta Public Schools serve 52,000 students while 80% of those students live at or below the poverty level?
  • Atlanta Public Schools graduates 34% of African-American males from high school?
  • Students from zip codes 30310, 30315 and 30318 grow up to represent 80% of the Georgia State Prison population?
  • Zip code 30314 is the 5th most dangerous community in America?
This winter when the temperature drops, over 10,000 swings will be taken by young men from Martin Luther King Middle School, Walter L. Parks MS, John F. Kennedy MS, B.E.S.T. Academy, Sylvan Hills MS, Charles L. Harper-Samuel H. Archer MS, Jean Childs Young MS and Joseph E. Brown MS at D-BAT Atlanta.  L.E.A.D. brought baseball to Atlanta Public Schools in 2010. Prior to L.E.A.D., baseball never existed in the district. It is truly a blessing for us to be able to partner with Atlanta Public Schools where I received an amazing education K-5th grade.  APS also educated my mother and fathers side of the family.  I love APS!

Since 2007, L.E.A.D. has...
  • Graduated 100% of our Ambassadors from high school while 100% have enrolled into college.
  • Prepared over 90% of our Ambassadors to enroll into college with baseball scholarship opportunities.
In 2013, L.E.A.D. will honor its first graduating class of Ambassadors from college! Let's go Atlanta!

We are going to wake up one day in the near future and college scouts are going to recognize the inner city of Atlanta as a "hot bed" for baseball talent in America.  Click here to join our L.E.A.D. Young Professionals Tailgate Club.

Monday, December 3, 2012

L.E.A.D. Weekend 2012

There are some new celebrities in Atlanta, GA and they are your L.E.A.D. Ambassadors.  The 2012-13 Ambassadors class was introduced to the city on Friday, November 30th at M. Agnes Jones Elementary School during our annual press conference.

The Ambassadors were asked questions by over 100 fourth and fifth graders about how they became Ambassadors, what college they plan to attend and what leadership means to them.

The students were so excited to see our Ambassadors.  They felt like celebrities.  We were wearing our Coke red Nike warm ups and walking with pride.  As we were leaving the school, I heard one of the 5th grade boys say "when I grow up, I want to be an Ambassador!"  That is exactly why we held the press conference at M. Agnes Jones Elementary School in the first place.

On Saturday, December 1st, we held our 6th Annual L.E.A.D. Celebrity Clinic at Turner Field.  We had perfect weather and served over 60 elementary and middle school students throughout metro-Atlanta in a baseball clinic experience the L.E.A.D. Way!  Our Ambassadors were the celebrities and got some support from Dexter Fowler (Colorado Rockies), Jason Heyward (Atlanta Braves), Telvin Nash (Houston Astros), Xavier Avery (Baltimore Orioles), Ty Kelley (LA Angels), Bobby Scales, (LA Angels)Georgia State University baseball team as well as the Lovett and Westminster Schools coaching staff.

On Sunday, December 2nd, we packed the 755 Club once again at Turner Field with our 3rd Annual Dinner With Champions Awards Celebration.  Chuck Dowdle was an amazing emcee.  Legendary football and life coach Vince Dooley was our keynote speaker.  Trust me when I say that he is as good as advertised.

Ambassador Tabias Wimby with Coach Vince Dooley
Our Community Partner Award recipients were Rendell Jackson (Atlanta Public Schools Athletics), Russell Wrenn (The Westminster Schools), Charlie Finch (The Lovett School), and the Miller Brothers (Greg and Robbie Miller).  Our Legacy Builder was the beautiful Charlotte Dixon of Mary Alice and Bennett Brown Foundation.  The L.E.A.D./Fowler Family Award recipients were G.W. and Lorrie Martin and Katrina Johnson.  The Dexter Fowler MVP Award recipient was Carlos Twine Jr.

The highlight of the night was when the Ambassadors received their custom fitted navy blazers from the Miller Brothers.

The night ended as a success and on the way home, Kelli were thinking of how we would raise the bar.  Not sure how we will do it but consider it done.