I remem­ber when I was in the  5th grade, one of my fel­low Young Men of Honor Broth­ers named Quentin told me about the pro­gram. From that day for­ward I began to annoy Mrs. Jack­son about the first meet­ing.  Even though I came to her every day from the first day of school to the first meet­ing, she stayed with her same motherly-smile and told me the date over and over again. From the first meet­ing for­ward I remem­ber elderly black men who had jobs that you would typ­i­cally con­sider a white man’s job doing failry well.  Doc­tors, lawyers, judges, and even police offi­cers came to us once a week and influ­enced us to stay in school, grad­u­ate, go to col­lege, and stay our of trouble.

I was in class with many peo­ple who prob­a­bly had back­grounds that they would not like to dis­cuss but they all stayed quiet and paid atten­tion to what the men would say.  After the meet­ings of course we got fed but, we took so much more from the meet­ings that stuck with us through life.  Since the begin­ning of this pro­gram, I haven’t seen many, if any, of my friends give up.  The men who saw us always taught us that it was way more to life than try­ing to be an NFL player or NBA player because one injury could ruin all our chances.

Before I joined this pro­gram, the far­thest I went out of town may have been Mid­way, Geor­gia to a local motel in order to take a breather from city life, but once I join this pro­gram, the very first trip I went on was Wash­ing­ton, DC where from a dis­tance we saw Pres­i­dent Bush, and walked around and seen all of the memo­ri­als that stood tall in Wash­ing­ton. One place in my life I never would’ve thought existed until I invested a great deal of my time inside of a pro­gram that broke me out of my shell and shaped me into the man that I am becom­ing today.

Even after being out of 5th grade for 7 years, as a senior now, I have attended many meet­ing to join a sit down with my fel­low young broth­ers, and aI also attend the annual Young Men of Honor ban­quet to show Mrs. Jack­son how appre­cia­tive I am to have par­tic­i­pated in this pro­gram.  As a senior in high school, I am in my first year of col­lege in the Dual Enroll­ment pro­gram while also being an Appren­tice at Gulf­stream.  With­out this pro­gram, I don’t even think I would’ve had the moti­va­tion to be in this pro­gram so far down the line I can still call Mrs. Jack­son for a word of advice to get me through. Through this pro­gram aI have met so many life­time friends and still am.  Thank you Mrs. Jack­son for such a won­der­ful pro­gram and so many mem­o­ries to travel with you and take me place that I never even dreamed of going!

Troy James, Life­time Young Man of Honor