Sunday, June 30, 2013

Rotary helps us lead the way

I have been a proud Rotarian for four years. I became a member under the leadership of Khaatim S. El. 

Atlanta's West End has historically been fertile ground where ideas and leaders take root and branch out to change the social environment. That history is reflected in the membership of the Rotary Club of Atlanta West End. We are diverse, young and old, male and female, from diverse racial, ethnic, religious and geographic back grounds.

The Rotary Club of Atlanta West End is living, breathing proof that fellowship flourishes when we seek our common humanity and celebrate our differences.

The Rotary Club of Atlanta West End continues to be a faithful supporter of L.E.A.D.'s year round programming.

In early June, our club sponsored L.E.A.D. Ambassador Earl Muhammad (Henry W. Grady High School, Atlanta Public Schools) for Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA).

L.E.A.D. Ambassador Earl Muhammad (Henry W. Grady High School, Atlanta Public Schools) attending R.Y.L.A.

RYLA is Rotary's leadership training program for young people. RYLA participants can be ages 14-30, but most clubs and districts choose to focus on a narrower age range, such as 14-18 or 19-30.

RYLA emphasizes leadership, citizenship, and personal growth, and aims to

•Demonstrate Rotary's respect and concern for youth

•Provide an effective training experience for selected youth and potential leaders

•Encourage leadership of youth by youth

•Recognize publicly young people who are rendering service to their communities

Last week, L.E.A.D. Ambassador alum Joseph McCrary joined me for our annual club officers installation dinner.

L.E.A.D. Ambassador Joseph McCrary, Rotarian Frances Ellison-Dansby and Rotarian C.J. Stewart at the 2013 Rotary Club Installation Dinner at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center.
I am proud to be the co-founder of an amazing organization L.E.A.D. while also serving the world as an Rotarian of the Atlanta West End.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Lebron Speaks to Atlanta Youth

Lebron James has done it again. He predicted multiple championships in Miami and two rings are a sign of what's to come. 

As he held the championship trophy in his hands, he talked about being raised in the inner city of Akron, Ohio and how he feels blessed to walk into the arena to see "James" on the back of his jersey.

He plays with reckless abandon every night to win that coveted trophy and hasn't been shy about his desire to be the greatest basketball player ever. 

If I had a brief moment to speak to Lebron, rather than ask for an autograph I would ask "why do you play with so much intensity and so much focus?" His answer could be the secret sauce behind the change of culture and mindset of youth in Atlanta. 

What would Atlanta look like if graduating from high school and college were coveted and each student wanted to be the greatest servant leader to ever live?

Making this paradigm shift is going to require the right questions to be asked of the right people. The answers lie within the minds of the students within the Atlanta Public School System. 

Our L.E.A.D. mission is to create positive outcomes for at-risk minority youth by leveraging the relationship between academics, athletics, and service. With the support of our partner Jostens, we presented our 2013 L.E.A.D. Ambassadors graduating class with Life Champions rings: this class consisted of four high school grads and our first Ambassador college graduate. We also presented Community Champions with rings such as Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz and Georgia's Own Credit Union President Dave Preter

We are building a bridge between our Ambassadors and the business community. Because of Josten's generous spirit, our young men now have something in common with some of the top executives in the Atlanta community: They are champions for a better Atlanta.

Mackenna Stewart with her daddy's L.E.A.D. Champions Ring
Lebron James is truly a champion and we can use his legacy to direct a new generation of college bound, civic minded African-American males from Atlanta. 

You spoke loudly last night, Lebron, and we heard you clearly in the A.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Why L.E.A.D. Ambassadors are considered celebrities

Hello my name is D'Anthony Morrow. I am a rising sophomore at Benjamin Elijah Mays High School. I am going to reflect on what happened yesterday evening. First I went to the Georgia's Own Credit Union board room to prepare for our interview with V-103's celebrity DJ Greg Street. In the board room we all talked to coach CJ and Coach Kelli about the experience that we were having. How important it was for us to be on live radio getting interviewed by Greg Street. Also when being interviewed you want to answer his questions with confidence and to speak fluently.

The L.E.A.D. Ambassadors in the Georgia's Own Credit Union board room

After that, we were special guest of Georgia's Own Credit Union for the von Grey band concert. We had the opportunity to talk with them all. They told us that they have been playing together for 5 years and they are sisters. They showed us what instruments they all play also what type of music they play. Then they explained how long it took them to play the music and play it the way that they want it to sound. After that we took a photo with them and Dave Preter (President/CEO of Georgia's Own Credit Union) before they performed for Georgia's Own Credit Union staff.

The L.E.A.D. Ambassadors with the von Grey band and Dan Preter (Georgia's Own President/CEO)
Next we got an opportunity to speak baseball to a celebrity DJ Big Tigger at V-103. He talked to us about how he played when he was a child and how he wished he could have played longer because he loved the game. He talked a little trash to us about how he was better than some of us.  We had a good time talking to Big Tigger. Before he left he and Coach Kelli exchanged cards to keep in touch with each other and they told him about the softball  game that will take place during L.E.A.D. Weekend at Turner Field and that he could attend if he had time to.

The L.E.A.D. Ambassadors with Celebrity DJ "Big Tigger" at V-103

And last but not least we were interviewed by the celebrity DJ Greg Street. We walked into the V-103 station and introduced ourselves to Greg Street. Then he explained to us what type of questions he was going to ask us and how to answer them. Then show time he plugged us up and we were on live radio speaking to millions of listeners. He asked me who I was and how long I have been in L.E.A.D. I told him my name is D'Anthony Morrow I am a rising sophomore at Benjamin Elijah Mays High School and I have been in L.E.A.D. for 3 years. Then after he talked to coach CJ, he asked us to say "We represent L.E.A.D. and its time for Greg Street to rock on the peoples station V-103".

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Paradigm Shift: Get-It-Done-rs

We are in the summer phase of programming for L.E.A.D. providing educational, leadership and baseball development to our 25 high school age L.E.A.D. Ambassadors and 40 middle school age Jr. Ambassadors. They won't miss a beat this summer and will be ready for school in the fall. 

The summer is super busy for us with our L.E.A.D. Ambassadors and Jr. Ambassadors. Our four L.E.A.D. pillars of excellence are academics, athletics, service/civic engagement and exposure. We have to plan for success while expecting the worse. Unfortunately, sometimes the best plans don't always turn out perfect. Like baseball, life is about making quick adjustments. We've had to make several adjustments as an organization this summer. 

I woke up this morning and realized that there are three people in the world. There are people that "don't get things done", "doers" and "get-it-done-rs". 

To be a "get it done-r" requires you to have three skills. 

The first skill that you must have to be a "get-it-done-r" is critical thinking. Thinking about something critically will cause you to consider stumbling blocks before you ever began the task. Asking the right questions on the front end helps you understand the request before you accept the responsibility. Understanding the request helps you execute the task.

The second skill that you must have to be a "get-it-done-r" is that you must have aptitude. Aptitude is the ability to learn and apply. Getting things done starts with you understanding the task at hand and it ends with you executing. Along the way, you will get curve balls thrown at you but if it is a strike, it can be hit for a home run. Make it happen!

The third skill that you must have to be a "get-it-done-r" is that you must be resourceful. The best leaders know how to get help from others. Not executing is not an option for "get-it-done-rs" if they accept the responsibility. When failure isn't an option, success is always a reality. I have some really smart friends that I can call on at any time for anything. About the only friend that I don't have is a snake charmer and I may have one of those and just don't know it yet. With so many smart friends that are willing and able to help me, how can I fail?
C.J. Stewart and Charlie Finch (The Lovett School, Assistant Athletic Director) on campus at The Lovett School

I enjoy having people hold me accountable. I want you to depend on me. Rest easy if it is in C.J.'s hands. By the grace and mercy of God, I am a "get-it-done-r".

L.E.A.D. recognizing Lance Oubs (The Lovett School Baseball Head Coach) and his staff for their continued support of L.E.A.D.
Come support the L.E.A.D. Ambassadors and Jr. Ambassadors at an upcoming game or service project by clicking here.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Perfect Game provides the perfect opportunity

What does the perfect opportunity to get a college baseball scholarship look like for African-American males from the inner city of Atlanta?
That's an easy answer. All you need is L.E.A.D. and Perfect Game USA (PG USA). Perfect Game USA is the world's largest baseball scouting service. PG USA is devoted to furthering the development and career of the talented high school baseball players. The most respected scouting service in the industry.

I remember having a discussion with Andy Ford (PG Vice President) in 1998 at the ABCA Coaches Convention about his vision for Perfect Game. It has exceeded the vision that we discussed back then. Without attending a PG event, you have only a slim chance of competing at the next level. In 2015, Perfect Game will make Georgia it's new permanent home. 

I have successfully developed amateur and major league players through my for profit business Diamond Directors since 1998. My organization has developed over 30 professional baseball players and over 100 players at the NCAA Collegiate level. We consistently get amazing results due to a proven training methodology that I created called AT-BATS. Without a methodology, you can't develop anything with consistency.

Dexter Fowler, Jason Heyward and I 
Development is important but exposure to the top coaches and scouts is vital if you are serious about competing at the next level. It's all of about being in the right place at the right time while being ready to show the world your talent. 

This week, L.E.A.D.'s Ambassadors (grades 9th-12th) and Jr. Ambassadors (grades 6th-8th) will be competing against the nations best while playing in the Perfect Game tournament at East Cobb. This opportunity doesn't come cheap though with a minimum entry fee of $2,000 per team per tournament. It's worth every penny for us though.

L.E.A.D. was established in 2007 and our mission is to create positive outcomes for at-risk inner city minority youth by leveraging the relationship between education, athletics and service. 

L.E.A.D. partners with Atlanta Public Schools to select all of our student-athletes. 60% of inner city Atlanta African-American males will not graduate from high school. Since 2007, L.E.A.D. has graduated 100% of our Ambassadors while 100% of them have enrolled into college with 90% enrolling with baseball scholarship opportunities. 

Perfect Game USA gives us an amazing opportunity to showcase our 12-month programming efforts. Baseball isn't recreation for us. We successfully use baseball to LAUNCH educational opportunities. We play for scholarships. We EXPOSE our Ambassadors to opportunities that will develop a sense of invest to the game for them as well as a sense of belonging. We ADVISE our families with excellence because we are experts with a proven track record of success and a strong network. We DIRECT using the legacy of past legends such as James "Red" Moore, Martin Luther King Jr. and Don Clendonon

If you are a fan of baseball and youth development, come out to support L.E.A.D. in the Perfect Game tournament. Click here for Jr. Ambassadors (grades 6th-8th) and Ambassadors (grades 9th-12th) game schedule.

L.E.A.D. Today...Change Tomorrow!