I’m embarking on a new journey. After finishing college, I’ve become even more excited about awakening possibility – not only in myself – but in others. This new flame for life has sent me on an adventure, one that’s filled with new ideas, new projects, new ventures, and new experiences. But what’s most exciting is the feeling of anticipation; of not knowing what the future holds; of realizing that there’s always a difference that can be made, and I can be a part of making it.
Now, enough with the babbling – here’s the scoop.
As the new year unfolded, I was more than ambitious about making the most of 2011. I had just graduated from college, I had a successful business I was preparing to build, and I was full of passion and possibility. This was all interrupted. As the first few days of January progressed, I found myself burdened with a new conviction. My conviction was this: “Most people spend most of their life focused on their personal climb toward success.” In other words, my plan for 2011 was to stay in Atlanta and focus on my own personal climb. And one of the key components of my plan was to never return to was my hometown, unless I was visiting. However, after watching the movie – Waiting For Superman – and spending time in prayer, I gained a deeper burden to travel back to my hometown Albany, GA, but it wasn’t to visit. There were 4 young men who needed my help the most. And I couldn’t risk being guilty of being too busy to help. These 4 young men are my nephews.
As a young African American male, I am well aware of the poor decisions black men have made and the statistics they have been defined by. With so many negative forces that have limited and defined young African American men, I realize that it is the responsibility of those who have charted a better path to help them do likewise. It is by this conviction that I decided to BE the change. And my BEing the change starts with my 4 nephews. As someone who believes strongly in living a life worth living, and leaving a legacy worth leaving, I am confident in this:
“The greatest legacy is that which we build in others.”
This has resulted in the development and launching of Urban Incubation™ – a platform designed as a creative solution to help raise this next generation. Merging my passion for design and technology with my compassion for my 4 nephews has sparked what I hope will be a new and fresh way to mentor and engage them. My short-term goal is to help each of them chart a path toward success; both academically and mentally. Urban Incubation™ is merely a directive tool to accomplish this goal. My long-term goal is to unfold Urban Incubation™ as a platform that can be used by families, youth groups, schools, and organizations. It may evolve into a program, an interactive website, an app, or a company.
My second reason for coming back to my hometown for the next few months is to help roll out an entirely new way of engaging teenagers in the city of Albany. There are thousands of teenagers who are not being engaged. As a young adult myself, I’m still young enough to see the missing links. It seems that most of it stems from a lack of adults knowing HOW to engage them.
My goal is to identify the missing links and to design creative solutions to help connect the dots. This has resulted in me partnering with a local church here in Albany – Victorious Life Church – which is my home church, and totally rethinking and redesigning their student ministry – HYPE Student Ministry. The beauty of this collaboration is the overarching vision of their student ministry which is to Help Young People Excel. My role has been one of a catalyst, helping to spark change. We are rethinking HOW we engage teenagers in the city, WHAT we engage them with, WHEN we engage them, WHERE we engage them, and WHY we should even bother. A long-term goal would be to partner with other youth groups and churches in the city and collectively create better solutions to effectively engage the teenagers in this city.
With a growing burden to present relevant truth to teenagers in a real and relational way, I’ve partnered with the HYPE Sudent Ministry to see this vision come to pass. I believe in asking the right questions and praying BIG prayers. And most importantly, I believe in God and His truth through Jesus Christ. Not for religion. But for life. There are so many teens in this city in need of truth in a real and relational way. And I want to be a part of telling the story.
So there you have it. These are the two most important things I’ve been working on over the past two months. This is legacy work. You can get more info about these two projects here in the labs.