- Faith & Family
Young people need mentors and more opportunities to develop leadership skills. And to help them discover untapped abilities and to work with seasoned veterans, Leaders By Empowerment Activist By Development [LEAD] recently partnered with Florida Atlantic University, South Florida Youth Summit and State Farm to host the “I am Change” forum. Close to 160 youth participated with topics including purchasing their first automobile, becoming entrepreneurs and how to be a positive force in their communities.
“This will help the [youth] better themselves and their [communities],” said Shervin Jones, LEAD founder and chairman. “We know it starts inside the home and these kids are the future.”
Speakers included: G. Eric Knowles, Nancy Wolfe-Smith and Felecia Hatcher. Knowles started his presentation by assuming an alter ego — Eric. He spoke in the language of the streets [Ebonics] and then in the middle of his presentation changed roles, donning a suit and presenting himself as Eric Knowles using more acceptable English. The point, he says, was to show that the “first impression is the last impression.”
“You have to take the [initiative] and not be told what to do, but doing without asking,” he said. “If you’re too big to follow, you’re too little to lead.”
Wolfe-Smith educated the youth on the proper steps for purchasing a vehicle without having high interest rates and discussed the how credit scores impact one’s ability to purchase the car of their choice.
“Doing the necessary research is very important,” she said. “Many [sales] personnel will try to make you purchase a vehicle the day you look at it. But you should always shop around and check the history of the vehicle so you know your product.”
After lunch, provided by Chick-Fil-A, the young people reassembled for words of encouragement from Hatcher. She told the kids that it can be fun to work for yourself.
“Working at a job, stands for just over broke,” she said. “I went from working at a great place to being honored by the [White House] as one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under 30. You have great ideas? Then don’t be afraid to develop them.”
By Eric Ikpe
Miami Times writer