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This 16-minute video details what it means to be a Builder of Opportunity & Sustainable Success during turbulent times. Its producer endeavors to encourage members of the Black Diaspora to 1) remember where they came from, 2) remember what they have achieved and 3) know what they must overcome in the ongoing quest to obtain equal rights and protections under the law. More than anything, this video is about members of the Black Diaspora demonstrating the solidarity that is needed to reclaim narratives surrounding their history, excellence and achievement. . LIKE the BOSS Leadership Network Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BOSSLeadersh…
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
NORTHERN VIRGINIA – The DMV Youth Leadership Coalition announced today the four recipients of its inaugural LEAD RIGHT Scholarship Awards. The dollar amount for each individual award is $5,000, and this amount is renewable for three consecutive years for recipients maintaining Grade Point Averages (GPAs) of 3.5 or better.
The LEAD RIGHT Scholarship Fund was established in 2019 to recognize, celebrate and affirm Authentic Leadership among underrepresented high school students of color in the Washington, DC/Metropolitan area. Recent reports indicate that the national college enrollment rate for Black and Hispanic students hovers well below 40 percent, with both tied at 36 percent, compared to 65 percent for Asian students and 41 percent for White students (The Condition of Education, 2019). These percentages are even lower for Native American students.
This year’s LEAD RIGHT Scholarship recipients include:
ARRINGTON EVANS, a 2020 graduate of Battlefield High School (Haymarket, Virginia). She will attend Virginia Commonwealth University in Fall 2020, majoring in Pre-Law – Political Science and Government.
SOFIA POSADA, a 2020 graduate of Washington Latin Public Charter School (Washington, DC). She will attend Georgetown University in Fall 2020.
KYLE WOODSON, a 2020 graduate of Battlefield High School (Haymarket, Virginia). He will attend the University of Virginia in Fall 2020 as an Echols Scholar.
ERIC SLEDGE, a 2020 graduate of Stonewall Jackson High School (Manassas, Virginia). He will attend Claflin University (Orangeburg, South Carolina), where he will pursue a degree in Computer Engineering while playing collegiate baseball.
Twenty-six (26) high school students of color submitted applications to the 2020 LEAD RIGHT Scholarship Fund. Submitted applications were reviewed and scored by a six-member panel of DMV Youth Leadership Coalition members. All 26 applicants qualified on the basis of race, ethnicity, GPA and US citizenship.
Seventy-six percent (76%) of the submitted applications came from students of color residing in Northern Virginia, specifically Prince William County, while another 12 percent from Washington, DC and 12 percent from Maryland. Twenty-seven percent (27%) of the applicants will be considered first-generation college students in Fall 2020.
ABOUT THE DMV YOUTH LEADERSHIP COALITION
The DMV Youth Leadership Coalition was formed in September 2018 by the principals of Everyday Mentorship, LLC and ACHIEVEMENT SQUARE Development & Training Centers, Inc. to recognize, celebrate and affirm Authentic Leadership among high school youths in the Washington, DC/Metropolitan area. An assemblage of concerned adults, its members are committed to preparing tomorrow’s leaders today by hosting community events and offering monetary scholarships that help young people develop better senses of self-identity, self-respect and self-worth while preparing them to be leaders right where they are.
The DMV Youth Leadership Coalition operates under the auspices of ACHIEVEMENT SQUARE Development & Training Centers, Inc., a 501(c)3 charitable organization based in Northern Virginia, in partnership with Everyday Mentorship, LLC and The Brickers Foundation.
Toastmaster Dave Zieliniski writes in a November 2015 Toastmaster magazine article that “having the courage to be emotionally open and transparent is a key to being authentic in a leadership role. Authenticity makes you more trustworthy and approachable in any leadership scenario, and that leads to more committed team members and better results.”
I agree with Zieliniski. Just consider the presidency of Barack Obama, or the business acumen of Oprah Winfrey. President Obama, the first African American elected to this office, served the USA with dignity, integrity and grace. And the speech that he delivered at the 2004 Democratic National Committee Convention gave the citizenry a greater sense of where his heart and head are. Consequently, many of us were eager to vote him into office in 2007 and 2011 because he displayed the kind of humility that all great leaders possess. From this humility came an aura of selflessness, putting We the People above partisan politics.
Oprah Winfrey was emotionally open and transparent when she told us about being raped as a young child by one of her male family members. Most of us know that Oprah is a successful journalist/former talk show host who is accustomed to getting into people’s business. But Oprah didn’t have to tell us about her business. She could have kept this secret to herself. However, her disclosure heightened our willingness to watch the Oprah Winfrey Show, when it was on, and watch the slate of programs on the Oprah Winfrey Network and snatch copies of O Magazine off newsstands. We have come to realize that all of these platforms are reflections of who Oprah is as a person and philanthropist.
Reflecting on Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey’s styles of leadership is somewhat gratifying for me. This gratification stems from me knowing that these leaders aren’t authentic because they are born this way. They are authentic because their characters were shaped by the love, and hate, that they received, and continue to receive, from others.
I’ve had to show that I’m a MADE man in my roles as husband, father, youth worker and nonprofit executive.
As a husband, I MATCH my actions with my words daily because I told my wife back in May of 1993 that I will love her until death do us part. Love is an active verb that is meant to be shown, not just spoken. That’s why I bend over backwards daily to show her how much I love and appreciate her.
As a father, I ANNOUNCE my feelings to my 15-year-old son when I exude pride toward him for making all A’s on his report card, or disappointment when he fails to complete his chores. By telling him how I feel, he is able to bring his thoughts, feelings and behaviors into alignment with my emotional state.
When I announce prideful sentiments, my son seems more motivated to apply himself in the classroom, keep his eye on the prize of receiving an academic scholarship to the college of his choice.
When I announce disappointment, my son is forced to check himself so he can turn things around, make more of an effort to please me.
As a youth worker, I DISCLOSE my vulnerabilities to disadvantaged youths when I tell them about my life as the oldest of three children raised by a once-poor, single-parent mother. They learn how my humble beginnings heightened my desire to help people help themselves. And I stress to them that I wasn’t impoverished; my mother was. Being impoverished is a choice that involves doing nothing with the gifts God gives us. That’s why I applied myself more in the classroom, because I knew this was the only way I could acquire the knowledge and skills to embark on a career.
And as a nonprofit executive, I EMPHASIZE getting things right while acknowledging my mistakes. When I established my nonprofit organization ACHIEVEMENT SQUARE Development & Training Centers, Inc. back in 2017, I hoped to show more people how to lead independently fearless and empowered lives. I proposed programs for youths and adults, but we were not awarded the requested $250,000 in grant funding. My mistake was thinking established grant makers would embrace us, newcomers, with open arms. But I righted our sinking ship in 2018 when I started developing working relationships with like-minded individuals. To date, this small coalition of 12 has raised over $12,000 from individual donors for something we call the LEAD RIGHT Scholarship Fund. And in April/May of 2020, we will award four (4) one-time scholarships of $3,000 each to underrepresented, low-income/first-generation minority youths residing in the Washington, DC/Metropolitan area.
So, remember, authentic leaders aren’t born, they’re MADE.
MATCH your actions with your words.
ANNOUNCE your feelings.
DISCLOSE your vulnerabilities.
And, EMPHASIZE getting things right while acknowledging your mistakes.
Do these four things, and you too will possess the makings of an authentic leader.
My name is J. A. Faulkerson, and I’m the author of Young Achiever Playbook: Planning to Achieve. I released this book in early 2019 in hopes of giving adolescents and young adults some of the tools they will need to lay firmer foundations for prosperous living.
The book is available for online purchase at jafaulkerson.wordpress.com/store.
Today’s topic is Nurturing, the first of four pillars of prosperity. The other three pillars are Learning, Working and Leading. Nurturing is based on the belief that people should grow up to fall in love, get married, and provide parental warmth to their children. To move toward greatness as a Nurturer, it is my belief that we must master three distinct roles, that of Reliable Friend, Present Spouse and Active Parent. I will share my insights about what it means to become a Present Spouse and Active Parent in future presentations. However, I would like to take some time now to answer questions related to becoming a Reliable Friend.
I believe a Reliable Friend is someone you can count on to provide meaningful advice, guidance, support, love and companionship. But in order for me to be receptive to these provisions, I must trust the person delivering them. I need to know that the person who wants to become my friend is not out to hurt me through the improper use of their words or deeds.
There’s a verse in the Christian bible, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, that describes qualities mostly associated with love. But I’m here to tell you that these qualities should also be present in our friends. A Reliable Friend is:
It is my belief that a person develops a desire to be reliable by getting in touch with his/her Selfless Self. If you’re anything like my younger self, your default response when interacting with others is to focus on your needs while ignoring the needs of others. But after many years of being focused on my own needs (i.e., acts of selfishness), I started considering other people’s needs, circumstances. And it was this consideration that caused me to conclude that the thing we all need most are opportunities to live our best lives now while belonging to someone, or something, special. Reliable friends care deeply about the people they befriend, and are committed to forging shared experiences that enrich the whole not just the parts.
Becoming a Reliable Friend has many benefits. I’m about to list three here.
The first benefit is that you know your friendships are based on unconditional love, admiration and respect. Reliable friends don’t care about you because you do X, Y and Z; they care about you because your words and deeds show you’re a decent person, one who is worthy of their love, admiration and respect. If they did say they care about you because of X, Y and Z, I would consider that the beginning of a toxic relationship. You don’t need any toxicity in your life, you need more tonic.
The second benefit is that you gain an appreciation for why it is so important to give of your time, talent, testimony and treasure. Most of the time, when someone references the four T’s, we think they’re talking about philanthropy, the act of selflessly giving of your time, talent, testimony and treasure. But we gift these things to our friends as well. The conversations we have, the athletic events that we attend, the vacations that we take are shared experiences that will be with us throughout our lives.
The third benefit is that you set the stage for positive interactions with your spouse and children. I will offer additional insights about these interactions in future presentations, but the important thing to note here is that we give selflessly to our spouses and children because they are us and we are them. We create fulfilling lives with our spouses, and we help our children find fulfillment in the lives they are destined to lead.
To access purchase links to my book Young Achiever Playbook: Planning To Achieve, please visit my website, jafaulkerson.wordpress.com/store.
Thank you, and stay well.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 29, 2019
Washington, D.C. – The DMV Youth Leadership Coalition announced today that its April 20, 2019 youth leadership symposium event at the University of Maryland, College Park Stamp Student Union has been cancelled due to low pre-registration numbers. Event organizers are currently working to identify an alternate venue for event hosting in the Fall of 2019.
The DMV Youth Leadership Coalition was formed by the principals of Everyday Mentorship, LLC and ACHIEVEMENT SQUARE Development & Training Centers, Inc. in September 2018 for the purpose of bringing the leaders of youth-serving organizations together to collaboratively develop offerings that provide area youths with a more accurate definition of Authentic Leadership.
According to the 4-H National Youth Survey on Leadership (2016), ninety percent (90%) of young people say they are concerned about the future leadership of America, and two-thirds are more confident in the next generation of leaders than in the leaders they see today. More specifically, the online Harris Poll of 1,501 of the nation’s 9th through 12 grade students revealed the following:
All donations previously made in support of the cancelled University of Maryland College Park event have been earmarked to support the planning, coordination and hosting of the Fall 2019 event.
To make a tax-deductible monetary donation to ACHIEVEMENT SQUARE Development & Training Centers, Inc.’s charitable oversight of the DMV Youth Leadership Coalition’s efforts, please visit the Organizational Storefront.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, March 22, 2019
Northern Virginia – Author J. A. Faulkerson announced today the release of the first installment in his Young Achiever Playbook series. Young Achiever Playbook: Planning To Achieve offers adolescents and young adults practical strategies for establishing firmer foundations for prosperous living, and is the latest offering from Culturally Coded Content, a Northern Virginia-based creative writing and nonprofit management firm.
Throughout the pages of Young Achiever Playbook: Planning To Achieve, J. A. bares his soul, recounting how an arthritic hip condition, and the end of his collegiate track and field career, fostered a newfound appreciation for what he calls the Four Pillars of Prosperity – Nurturing, Learning, Working and Leading. After coming to terms with this careerending diagnosis, J. A. vowed to be the kind of man who:
“After making this vow,” J. A. said, “I had to connect what I was doing then to what I wanted to do later in life. Making this connection was the first step I took to create a Personal Prosperity Plan. I call it my Adult LIFE Vision. By focusing my full attention on it, I was better able to identify the things I needed to do to grow the right amount of intelligence, personality and character to be successful at whatever I put my hands to.”
He added, “I’m a firm believer in the old saying, ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.’ During my TRIO Upward Bound days, when I was a Director, I made sure we engaged our young scholars in activities that didn’t just prepare them for college. My staff and I also thought it was important for them to envision the kind of adult lives they wanted to lead. The stakes are even higher for me now, as I am raising a son who I hope will unashamedly embrace all of the concepts outlined in this book.”
J. A. believes we now live in an era where personal achievement is becoming synonymous with the amount of money people have in their bank accounts (and what they do with it) rather than the amount of neighborly love they have in their hearts (and what they do to bless others). He contends that Achievers who are in touch with their selfless selves impartially consider their neighbors needs to become concerned enough to care. “Because they care,” J. A. said, “they give freely of their time, talent, treasure and testimony. And by engaging in these philanthropic endeavors, they are letting others know it’s not all about them, it’s about us.”
The 121-page book is available now for online purchase as a paperback or ebook through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
J. A. Faulkerson is a Strategist, Author and Speaker with Culturally Coded Content, a Northern Virginia-based creative writing and nonprofit management firm. A Master-level Social Worker who has worked on behalf of disadvantaged and disenfranchised children, youths and adults for over 20 years, he is committed to producing creative works that don’t just entertain, but educate and enlighten as well.
J. A. is the author of Adinkrahene: Book One (Fiction) and Real Men Raise CHAMPIONS: Unleashing Your Inner COACH (Nonfiction). Adinkrahene: Book One was one of three titles honored at the 2015 Phillis Wheatley Book Awards ceremony, in the First Fiction category. The Phillis Wheatley Book Awards are held annually on the campus of Columbia University as the kickoff event to QBR’s Harlem Book Fair.
To purchase one or more of J. A.’s available titles, or to book him as a workshop presenter or event speaker, visit http://www.jafaulkerson.wordpress.com/store.
A portion of all proceeds from the sale of Young Achiever Playbook: Planning To Achieve support the work of ACHIEVEMENT SQUARE Development & Training Centers, Inc., a registered 501(c)3 charitable organization.
To make a tax-deductible donation in support of ACHIEVEMENT SQUARE Development & Training Centers, Inc.’s efforts, visit http://www.achievementsquare.org/give.
This video moved me because it succinctly encapsulates the message I share in Young Achiever Playbook: Planning To Achieve.
A successful life should never be based on what you receive. It should be based on what you give.