A summit was held Saturday, Dec. 2, at Creswell Middle School uniting young high school men with profound adult men who presented themselves as mentors and inspirational guides the young men could mirrow. The theme for the M3 summit was ‘Modeling and Maximizing Manhood.’ The event was sponsored by Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools spearheaded by Dr. Pippa Meriwether, MNPS Community, Northwest Quadrant. It was well received, and those in attendance were not disappointed.
The summit offered several hands on hands activities and workshops with some extraordinary men sharing their testimonies of coming into their own as men. Speakers shared genuine invaluable life sharing experiences that helped them navigate into becoming the successful men they have become.
The eloquent speakers included: Dr. James Bailey, Bobby Hernadez, Barry Barlowe, and Marcus Campbell. Self-improvement through education appeared to be the major driving point common with all the speakers, which included a minister; a high school principal; a building developer; and a minister/community activist. The speakers reflected upon the perseverance and fortitude used to overcome personal obstacles.
An added delight was the presentation by a young, promising, and truly talented student of his spoken word poem ‘You Don’t Know Me.’ His spoken word wooed the crowd. If he is an example of the young talent in our community, we are undoubtedly blessed and highly favored.
It is one thing to think you know someone, but to hear their story helps you become even closer knowing they are human just like you and they can be the inspiration and motivation necessary to help you fulfill your goals. It is important for our young men to know that they are not in this struggle by themselves and to understand the importance of vision, self-discipline, and endurance.
The M3 Summit was well organized and engaging. Lunch and refreshments were supplied and the venue itself offered an inviting atmosphere conducive for receiving and learning. I only wish that more of these summits could take place. I liken it to a rites of passage ceremony, where young high school men are privy to admirable productive role models that look like them.This is very important to young men, who don’t have a father in the home or a man to look up to—helping them navigate through their trying teen years.
The presence of a myriad of adult men offering mentorship and guidance was greatly appreciated. Offering themselves as role models for young men to shadow speaks for itself. Nurturing instruction and guidance is necessary for young boys to become caring, productive, and successful men. We are talking about grooming future fathers, husbands, providers, and community activists.
Workshops provided included instruction on tying a necktie, grooming, and personal hygiene. Parents were privy to information in getting their young men into college. Major topics also included the impact of guns on youth and knowledge and awareness of the pipeline-to-prison dilemma targeting young Black men.
Kudos to Dr. Pipa Meriwether, for having the courage and vision to focus and invest in the success of young Black men.
The organizers are to be applauded, not only by the students in attendance, but the community. No mistaking it, many of these young men walked away with a more positive attitude, feeling good about themselves and their ability to achieve their goals. This positive and informative experience should be continuous and often.
While there was an impressive group of young men in attendance, I’m sure the young men will be sure to tell their fellow peers what they missed. I can only imagine the crowd getting larger in future summits.
Young men: Don’t let the world keep you from working to achieve your dreams!