As a man thinketh


Boys to Men Christian Mentors celebrate, award scholarships at 20th banquet

For three hours on May 5, a ballroom at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Tucker became groud-zero for celebration, as Boys to Men Christian Mentors celebrated its 20th annual scholarship banquet.

Each year, officials from Boys to Men Christian Mentors pair at-risk youth with leaders in the Christian community. The goal is to provide coaching, guidance, teaching, friendship and training from “godly men” to boys ages 8 to 18.

Two passages from the Bible often quoted in the ministry are Proverbs 23:7: “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he,” and Proverbs 27:17: “As iron sharpen iron, so one person sharpen another.”

On May 5, hundreds from the DeKalb County church community gathered to celebrate a year of accomplishments from participants—also known as protégés—Kristian Bell, Kyle Bell, Julano McLeod, Jabari Crosby, Brandon Davis, Dasani Crawford and Torry Thompson, who each received scholarship funds.

The event also included words from past program graduates Marcus Johnson Jr., Errol Hooper Jr., and James Knowles III.

Johnson, a local author who serves as the English program director at Georgia Piedmont Technical College, advised those gathered to “suit up, squad up, square up and stay up” when facing problems.

According to Johnson, suiting up entails preparing. This involves identifying a problem, identifying the environment, and identifying how to solve a problem, he said. Johnson specifically identified a health scare and fighting his own impulses.

Johnson said squadding up involves picking the right teammates. He said young men must be wary of who they surround themselvs with, who they look up to and who to admire. Johnson said this included God, at least one mentor and people who fit into any current situation, which changes.

For Johnson, squaring up involves having the courage and willingness to show up to any situation, confrontation or need. In the same way, Johnson said staying up involves adapting to situations that may not be favorable.

“The theme for this banquet has been ‘Fight the good fight’ since its inception,” Jones said. “We’re all going to fight at some point in our lives. As we fight, because we have to fight, we have to make sure we have a plan or strategy. Your most common adversary is yourself.”

Hooper, a senior software developer at Chick-fil-A and STEAM nonprofit organizer, continued the theme of winning the fight within. He advised the protégés to remain humble, never forget what they are fighting for, never take negativity personally, recall past victories and remember to be themselves

“The one thing God needs from all of us, to pull off the plan that he’s started within us, is the work, effort and willingness to fight the good fight,” Hooper said. “To quote Frederick Douglass, ‘If there is no struggle, there is no progress.’ God is willing to fulfill all of our expectations, but he’s going to require our cooperation, our sacrifice, many disappointments, pain, and a fight.”

Knowles, a Georgia Tech graduate now working in sales, detailed “the longest one minute and 40 seconds of [his] life” in the boxing ring to demonstrate three points of advice: wear the armor of God and know they cannot be hurt, always ask the right questions and don’t miss opportunities presented by God.

“We have to realize that one step in the right direction is not enough,” Knowles said. “If we don’t hold ourselves to a higher standard, how can we live a life of prosperity? Don’t just reach the bar—be competitive. What’s going to win you the fight? It’s the mentality, it’s how you think.”

Each of the protégés as well as the speakers received scholarship funds of varying amounts.

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    So very PROUD of these young MENTORS for stepping up to the challenge of giving back to society. This simply gives new meaning to the quote: IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE A CHILD.
    ***Three CHEERS from an
    ALPHA KAPPA ALPHA woman…one who knows.

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