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