For what has been a rollercoaster ride, my life has taken me through many ups, downs, and loopy loops. I have had different mentors, supporters, and advisors to allow me assistance in perusing my goals, pushing for my success, and praising my achievements. One major source for assistance was Ms. Jean Hudley from Boys2Men. Boys2Men is a group that Ms. Hudley started to help boys in impoverished neighborhoods grow to become leading men in our society. In the process, we took up different seminars and classes, we sat with some of the most prestigious men in Atlanta, and we were exposed to more than just our everyday neighborhood. In some of the seminars and classes, we were given different tools on dining etiquette, leadership skills and communication skills, how to write a resume, how to perform a proper interview, and most importantly how to set goals. Every week, Ms. Hudley would pick up every member of Boys2Men, and bring us to the neighborhood church Beacon of Light in Austell, GA. After each session and class, she fed us! So we went home with both a pocket full of knowledge and a full stomach. We were also involved in different programs hosted by Steve Harvey, in which we were able to meet him face to face and get connected with him. The relationship did not stop at asking questions, Mr. Harvey himself invited several members of Boys2Men to come to his home and discuss some of our goals in life. One of Mr. Harvey’s associates Mr. Gerald Washington also allowed us to converse and interact personally with him. I think this was some of the best exposure to some of the faces that, in my community, can only be seen on television. Ms. Hudley was always willing to connect each student with some type of personal mentor or life coach that could help us transition into being men. We were not only taught about being a man, but about being a responsible citizen as well. Within Ms. Hudley’s attempt to expose us to different environments, Ms. Hudley took students to various places that were often less disciplinary, but fun and exciting. For example one night she took me and Malik Walker to a Kennesaw State University soccer game. We had never heard to Kennesaw State University before, so Ms. Hudley made it her duty to introduce us to the college and took us on a personal tour of the college.
Over the course of my Boys2Men experience, there were a few times where I wanted to stop coming, and dismiss the program, but now I see how influential this experience was on my life. I am now a freshman at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. This is one of the most prestigious Junior-Ivy-League colleges in the country. I am continuing on her legacy by joining an all-African-American male group named “Brothers at Bard”. We are a group of Black males that are mentoring high-school African-American males at Kingston High School, in Kingston, New York. I am also starting my own after-school program in Bailey Middle-School in Kingston, New York. To conclude, Boys2Men has been a special group that has transformed me into the young man that I am today. I think more “Boys” should join this group because like myself, it will take you away from the streets and help you change the streets!