Friday, October 31, 2014

Two Different Learning Institutions in Atlanta

L.E.A.D. Ambassador Jamequavius Jordan (Maynard H. Jackson High School, Atlanta Public Schools) spent a day with me today.

My day started with a meeting with Morehouse College President John Wilson followed by a Rotary meeting on the Georgia Tech campus.

Here are the three differences that Jamequavius learned today between Morehouse and Georgia Tech while being on both campuses.

1. Morehouse College has 2,000+ students and Georgia Tech has 20,000+ students.

2. Morehouse College is a historical private college and Georgia Tech is a historic public college.

3. Georgia Tech has a Walmart, Waffle House and hotel on the campus along with lots of buildings and a state of the art athletic facility. Morehouse College doesn't offer a lot on the campus. I guess it's because of the community that it is located in.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Engaging the Dragon

Last week I (Ryan Martin), along with Austin Evans, went to the Engaging the Dragon: Economic Diplomacy in China Town Hall Meeting sponsored by the World Affairs Council. We were able to listen and learn so much from our keynote speakers about China, conditions there, U.S. relations, and how the two nations could come together and be stronger. A special commentary from former President Jimmy Carter was broadcasted live via satellite from the Carter Presidential Library. This was special because Carter was the key figure involved in creating the relationship we have today with mainland China nearly 35 years ago.

Austin Evans (Senior, New Schools at Carver), Rachel Nelson-Flyod and Ryan Martin (Sophomore, B.E. Mays High School)
In addition to President Carter's insights, two keynote speakers that have accomplished unthinkable things in government and on different cultural platforms discussed their views on China's economic growth over the last two decades, U.S. competitiveness, and future relations between the two countries. Our first keynote speaker was Mr. Henry "Hank" Levine who is a Senior Director with the Albright Stonebridge Group, a strategic advisor firm in Washington, D.C., where he helps international firms deepen there interactions with government and non-government entities in China and resolve business issues. Our second keynote speaker for the night was Professor Andrew Wedeman. He is a Professor of Political Science at Georgia State University. He has spent eighteen years with the Department of Political Science at the University of Nebraska, where he served as Director of Asian Studies.

Being at the World Affairs Council meeting gave me the opportunity to understand exactly what the organization does and ponders over. The World Affairs Council of Atlanta provides a forum for dialogue and an entrance for research on international affairs and global issues that impact the corporate community. The mission of the Council is to deepen the understanding of world affairs, enhance the international reputation and help drive the economic development of Atlanta, the state, and the region.

I enjoyed being in an environment of college students and influential people from multiple cultures and societies. I saw this opportunity as a chance to further my knowledge of not only my culture but the cultures and economic structures of China. It was definitely a privilege and I am thankful to have been a part of it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Not Just Another Chicken Dinner

Georgia claims the crown for the state with the most non-profits in the country, so there will no doubt be hundreds of fundraising galas during the last quarter of this year.

There is another crown that I want Georgia, specifically Atlanta to claim: the City that graduates black male students at the highest rate in the country. So far with L.E.A.D., we're on the right track. To date, every young man that completes our program graduates from high school and enrolls into college and 92% of them receive scholarship money to help pay for college.

Now before you applaud those stats, let us all understand that in order to sustain those stats and to bring more young men into the fold, we must have sustainable support. This year, I need you to put L.E.A.D.'s 5th Annual Dinner With Champions on your calendar, so you can meet the young men we call Ambassadors; young men who were on track to be liabilities to this City, but who are now on track to be the assets they always had the promise to be.

Legendary Football Coach Vince Dooley along with the L.E.A.D. Ambassadors, Kelli Stewart and CJ Stewart at the Dinner With Champions
For those of you who like numbers, the problem is really simple. Right now, youth in zip codes 30310, 30315 and 30318 grow up to represent 80% of Georgia's prison population. When it comes to juvenile expenditures for youth housed in Georgia's detention centers, it costs the State about $100K per child each year.

On the contrary, it costs L.E.A.D. about $21,000 per student over six years to develop young men into Ambassadors; that's about $3,500 per student each year. It comes down to paying now for proven prevention or paying later for incarceration and rehabilitation.

I hope you will join me this year to celebrate as we announce our 7th Ambassador Class. My hope is that you will also join others in supporting L.E.A.D. so we can sustain our work thus far and make L.E.A.D. available to more young men in Atlanta. The tickets are only $150; a small price to pay to save a life. Click here to purchase your tickets.

L.E.A.D. is a proud partner of Atlanta Public Schools serving student-athletes from the 6th-12th grades.

Monday, October 13, 2014

L.E.A.D. Fall College Tour - Savannah State University

This weekend, we took our Leaders on their second college tour of the fall to Savannah State University. There's no way to relay just how transformational this trip was for all of them unless you were there to witness it for yourself, but I hope these reflections will give you a glimpse on the amazing experience we had.

Keevis Montgomery, Benjamin E. Mays High School, Atlanta Public Schools

During my Savannah State University experience I learned that college teams prepare just like L.E.A.D. We saw Savannah State play East Georgia College on Saturday and I realized that even players at the college level make mistakes. I had a good time talking with my teammates from other APS schools. I learned some new stuff about them. I found out that one of my teammates just started playing baseball. I also learned some new facts about Savannah while on the trolly. Savannah is the most haunted city in America. I learned a lot on this trip and it was a great experience.

Cameron Tucker, Henry W. Grady High School, Atlanta Public Schools

I learned a lot on this Savannah trip. I learned the importance of establishing a better relationship with the team. I also learned the importance of calming myself and my teammates down on the field. During the game, I began to get upset because I had two strikeouts. After talking to Coach CJ, he explained it wasn't the end of the world, so I was able to focus on exposing my talent in front of the Savannah State coaches. This trip was worth the drive for more than baseball.

Nile Kennedy, Maynard H. Jackson High School, Atlanta Public Schools

I had an awesome time while in Savannah. I learned a lot just from watching the Savannah State game. I also learned from Mendez (2012 Ambassador Alum & Grady HS Graduate) when he gave us the motivational speech. In the future I will take what I learned and put it into action. But one thing I'm proud of myself is when I guaranteed Coach CJ that I wouldn't show negative emotion during the game. I'm terrible at keeping in my anger and not showing my emotion. When I made an error, I calmed myself down and stayed focused. I had to have a short term memory. I held it together and kept my cool. I got a chance to show my skills during the game and I gave my all. I also had a lot of fun during this trip and I want to thank Coach CJ and Coach Kelli for giving me this opportunity to be in Savannah. It really means a lot.