Low graduation rates in Atlanta of African-American males isn’t the real problem

It’s great to lead the way, providing you bring the followers along and engage them in the process. ~Kevin Daum

Engagement is to occupy the attention or efforts of a person or persons. This question is for adults age 25 and older. Name three things that you were fully engaged in when you were in middle school? In case you forgot, that was around ages 11 though 13. While you are thinking, I recall being most engaged in baseball, girls, and the youth choir at church in that order. 

I loved playing baseball as a kid. I fell in love with it around the age of 8 while watching Chicago Cubs games in the daytime with my grandfather. I always felt that I could play professional baseball if I continued to love it and have the right people on my side. 

Girls became less “yucky” for lack of a better word when I entered middle school. They dressed different and looked different and had me confused daily on how to approach them. 

Singing in the choir at Elizabeth Baptist Church was the thing to do back then because that’s where all of the really good looking and “good girls” hung out. I couldn’t help but feel the presence of God through songs but admittedly, I was most engaged because of the opportunity to socialize. 

I have daughters ages 6 and 12 and my wife and I serve over 300 middle school males (LEADers) within the Atlanta Public School System (APS) throughout the year since 2010. Our organization L.E.A.D. spends over 100 hours with them per month in the areas of academics, athletics, civic responsibility and commerce. We are fortunate to have the full support of the principals and our coaches are teachers in the school. 

The three things that I would like for middle school boys to be most engaged with is their spiritual relationship with Christ Jesus, academics and athletics in that respected order.

L.E.A.D.’s 2013 Middle School Character Development League Signing Day at Walter L. Parks Middle School

The only way that it can happen is for the significance of it to be exposed to our young men early and nurtured by intentional mentors with consist interaction. Teachers, coaches and mentors have a great opportunity to empower young African-American males. They are in a struggling state for sure in Atlanta and as long as they are alive, we have an opportunity to save them from themselves. Remember the prayers and support that you needed when you were in middle school?

L.E.A.D. Ambassador Tabias Wimby (B.E.S.T. Academy, APS) shaking hands with Hall Of Fame Coach Vince Dooley

It’s great to lead the way, providing you bring the followers along and engage them in the process. ~Kevin Daum

Because males within the Atlanta Public School System aren’t engaged in their spirituality, academics and athletics, they are graduating from high school at a rate of 34% while 80% of the entire Georgia Prison population comes from zip codes 30310, 30314, and 30318 which are located within the Atlanta Public School district. So the problem is that they aren’t engaged and the results of the problem is the low graduation rate. 

See how L.E.A.D. engages our LEADers at LEAD2Legacy.org.