Altruistic Leadership, guiding others with the ulitmate goal of empowering them and improving their wellness, intellectually and emotionally is essential to my identity as a man and my purpose in life. I’ve mentioned several times before that helping others is an obligation for me as a human being, as a man, a leader, provider and academic. Giving back fulfills an expectation in each one of these roles I play. So my message for today is, “We can’t save the world, but we can all do our part.”
What if we begin seeing the true power of our own influence as individuals–as community and school leaders, mentors, church and mosque members, parent, concerned citizens as opposed to resting most, if not all, of the responsibility on entertainers like rappers and athletes? Please don’t get me wrong, though. I definitely believe celebrities have a role (there will be a post about them in the very near future) in the upliftment of our communities and serving as role models for our children, but that’s indirect influence. How many of us have actually been inspired to give back to the community by watching those ‘NBA Cares’ commercials? Definitely not me. I applaud celeb servicemen like Jim Brown, Seattle Seahawk Shaun Alexander, rappers T.I., Common and Ludacris. They’ve all done tremendous work in their communities through youth programs and financial donations. I also think that Dwayne Wade winning ‘Humanitarian of the Year’ at the BET Awards this year was epic. Wade represents what I think most of us would like to see from our professional athletes, especially African-American enterntainers who are idolized by our young brothas and sistas.
But my point here is that each one of us has a role to give back to our respective communities, but it’s even more important that we instill a giving spirit in our youth. To help a young person recognize that there is a greater purpose outside of himself is essential to his soul; and actually, it’s essential to our soul as a people. An individual grows as his community grows, a nation grows as all of its communities grow; therefore, responsibility to our communities and the people within them should be of the upmost importance. Altruistic leadership and community service can change a community one person at a time. It teaches our children humility, respect, instills a sense of work ethic, balance, and in the long run, it will make them better parents for their children. Just imagine if all of us, you, me, and our children, implemented a uniform system of caring for the downtrodden, the voiceless, the sick, feeble, and disabled?
As rewarding as it is for me in my personal journey, nothing is more fulfilling and exhiliarating than helping to instill the same feeling and committment in others, which is why I try to involve my family and my young bros in as many community involvement projects as I can.
We started our day early this morning at around 9:30 or so and made the 20 minute journey to our destination at Trinity United Methodist Church located in downtown Atlanta. Now I’ve worked in a soup kitchen several times before and so had one of the other young bros I brought with me, but I don’t think either of us was prepared for what our day was about to be. In my life, I’ve worked at Food Fare (local grocery store), Golden Coral, and Chik-Fil-A, and I don’t think I ever worked that hard in no one’s kitchen! Almost immediately, we were put in charge of the chilli. There were two huge, stainless steal pots (they were more than just a traditional pot around the house; I just don’t know the proper term for them) that the coordiator told us that we would use these to cook the chilli in. Well thankfully, we didn’t actually have to make it. There was a also church group there who had many of their members cook it and place into big Ziplock bags. There were about 30 bags. Seriously. So our first task was to cut open all the bags and dump the frozen chilli into the pots to melt them down, a heating process that took up the better part of an hour.
- Served 186 total
- 166 African-American (about 10 women)
- 2 Asians
- 12 Hispanics
- 6 whites
These numbers are not 100% accurate. I told you I deleted the photo of the data sheet. I do know, however, that we did in fact serve 186 people and 166 of them were African-American. The number stuck out to me like the elephant in the room. I can’t help but to ask myself what factors contribute to this dilemma; its a socio-economical enigma that I wholeheartedly believe isn’t being addressed, or pursuing as actively as it should be. Is the achievement gap and dropout rate linked to homelessness? How so? How do the rising rates of alcoholism, drug addiction, family structure and background, and mental health problems such as depression and bipolarism impact the numbers of potential homeless Black men and women. What proactive measures can be taken to ensure our youth are not sucucmbed to the same fate?
Anyway, it turned out to be a GREAT day! We worked very hard and absolutely every bit of sweat was worth it. I’ll do it again in a heartbeat. In fact, we ARE going to do it again. See you again next week!