How to change the culture in the inner city of Atlanta

This continues to be an amazing week of exposure for the L.E.A.D. Jr. Ambassadors.  On Monday, we toured the World of Coca-Cola and Tuesday we learned how the world gets its news from Atlanta’s own CNN.  Today, we were guest at The Fernbank Museum of Natural History.

The L.E.A.D. Jr. Ambassadors at the Fernbank Museum entrance

The Fernbank Museum of Natural History educates us all about nature as intended by nature-lover and visionary Emily Harrison in the 1800’s. Emily grew up in east Atlanta in an area that she called the “Fernbank”.

Natural history is the study of organisms including plants or animals in their environment.  The environment is the social and cultural forces that shape the life of a person or a population.  While at the Fernbank today with the L.E.A.D. Jr. Ambassadors, I saw a really cool sign that defined culture for me.

The world “culture” has many meanings.  In this exploration, we define culture as a system of beliefs, values, behaviors and customs that are shared by a group of people and passed down from generation to generation.

As Coach Kelli Stewart said, “We are who we associate with.  If you want to be great, hang around other people that are great!”  L.E.A.D. is a great organization to join and we are focused on creating a new generation of college bound, civically engaged student athletes.

Coach Kelli speaking to the Jr. Ambassadors about a display in the background related to join groups and culture.

L.E.A.D.’s mission is to provide inner city Atlanta middle and high school age males with access to higher education and civic engagement through baseball.  We have partnered with the Atlanta Public Schools System (APS) since 2007.  APS currently graduates 34% of African-American males from high school.  There are currently 47,000 students in APS and 80% of those students live at or below the poverty level.  Lack of education and poverty usually equals crime so it is no surprise that youth living in the 30310, 30315, and 30318 inner city zip codes grow up to represent 80% of the prison population.

Something went terribly wrong generations ago that has caused the terrible problems that exist in the inner city of Atlanta.  However, every problem creates an opportunity.  Thus the reason that my wife Kelli and I established L.E.A.D. in 2007.

We continue to use baseball to make a significant impact on youth in Atlanta.  Impact is so important to us that we measure.  To date, 100% of our L.E.A.D. Ambassadors have graduated from high school while 100% have enrolled in college and 90% have enrolled in college with a baseball scholarship.

The negative culture that exists in parts of inner city Atlanta can change but it is going to take a lot of love, consistency from willing and able mentors, youth programs with measurable outcomes, and sharing of resources.

We are L.E.A.D. and welcome your support!  Click here to find ways to join us and continue to change the culture in the inner city of Atlanta.

The L.E.A.D. Jr. Ambassadors at the entrance for the Fernbank Museum of Natural History