Men of Tomorrow program in Daytona culminates with June 20 event
SPECIAL TO THE DAYTONA TIMES
Twelve young men took center stage during the biennial Men of Tomorrow program finale presented recently by Gamma Mu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.
The June 20 event marked the culmination of several months of workshops, trips and community service projects. The focus of the program, which the chapter has presented for more than three decades, is to develop the potential, desire and responsibility within the boys to assume the mantle of leadership. The program is open to high school juniors and seniors that live in Volusia County.
“The hours of preparation that have gone into tonight’s presentation are just the tip of the iceberg in comparison to the things that they will be exposed to as they travel toward lives that matter to their individual families, the communities they live in and ultimately to the world,” said Belinda Williams-Collins, Men of Tomorrow Program co-chair.
Seven ‘Little Men’
Participants this year were Nathaniel Anderson Jr., William Joseph E. Collins, Bryan Gregory Jr., Chayce Wesley Hamilton, Rashad Deron Harris, John Leland Huger Jr., Julian Rhys Hunter, Scott Edwin Summers Jr., Stephan Gary W. Symonette, Arthur Leon Westbrook II, Tyree White and Broderick Williams.
The program included a presentation of seven “Little Men of Tomorrow” between the ages of 6 and 9 years old. They were Alex Bernard Baker, Ansel Eli Bullard, Jordan A. Davis, Jeffrey Rayshad Harris, Marquis McCants, T’zion Ramon Troutman and Devan L. Willis.
Both groups, dressed in formal attire, entertained the audience with precision dance routines. Each of the older boys also waltzed, first with their female escorts, and then with their mothers.
Advice from businessman
Central Florida businessman Kevin L. Jackson was the guest speaker for the event that took place at the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort before an estimated 250 people. Jackson’s comments harkened back to the theme for this year’s program – “Paving the Way for Tomorrow’s Generations.”
The founder and chief executive officer of Advanced Information Systems Group Inc. (AISG) told the boys that they were “standing on the shoulders” of all those who came before them.
“When we have made it, we have to reach back to our future generations,” said Jackson, who took part in a Men of Tomorrow program while growing up in Miami. Prior to going into business for himself, he worked as a design engineer at General Electric’s former simulation and control systems department in Daytona Beach.
He founded AISG in 1991 as an information technology contract engineering and computer systems integration firm. In 2003, the company sold all of its commercial assets and today operates primarily as a federal government contractor and commercial investor.
Jackson: ‘Be wise’
Jackson told the Men of Tomorrow participants that it is important to choose their friends wisely and if they find themselves being pulled down by acquaintances, let them go and move forward. “It is not good enough to be smart. What is really important is to be wise. Wisdom…that is what a truly smart person knows to do,” he said.
Meanwhile, eight of the high school students graduated this year and have been accepted into colleges.
Their career goals include architect, financial consultant, drug enforcement agent, sports broadcaster and mechanical engineer.
“Through their talents, discipline and integrity, we believe that these young men will change the world they live in, one obstacle at a time because they are our future,” said Tracia Culver, chapter president.