Natural High

Happy Hump Day, All!

Yes, it is the middle of another week and the weekend is on the horizon! But still, two more days at work … then the company’s Christmas Party in Boca Raton, FL at Andrews … a fine upscale restaurant and bar where we had the fabulous party last year. I look forward to the ambiance there again this year, thanks to the owners of Plat Marketing Group.

Yesterday was an incredible day as I was fortunate enough to have presented to a group of youth from two local high schools here in Broward County, FL. The program is called Mentoring Tomorrow’s Leaders and it has received a handsome grant from the Federal Department of Education to heighten the academic awareness of the youth participating in this program directed by Ms. Patricia Lesesne and a most harmonious and tenacious staff! In the presentation at the African American Research Library and Cultural Center in the FTL, there were both mentors and mentees. I had gotten there a bit early to get everything set for them as I planned to have a skit in the beginning from “American Gangster” to hammer home the issue of Stop the Violence as well as coordinate with Ms. Belvit, the AV person there at the library, the cues for music which included Keiko Matsui and Peter White. As the approximately 100 strong group of youth arrived, I could feel the energy in them and planned to get them involved a.s.a.p., as is my format for the presentations and workshops. Mr. Shorter, Ms. Lesesne’s assistant in her absence, had had copies of the material prepared for each of the youth participating, and had organized the remaining details for their arrival by bus to the AARLCC.

The joy came when, after introducing myself, I asked several of them to represent their schools and tell ME what part they played and what help they had gotten by participating in this program. The results were impressive. Our interactions were honest, humorous, humble and heart-warming just to name a few! As I shared on the topic of Embracing Diversity and learning Spanish in 7th grade as well as going to St. Paul’s, I had asked who else knew Spanish from the group and why they decided to study and learn it. One young lady from Belize, Mary, raised her hand and when I called her up, witnessed one of tomorrow’s leaders for SURE! Her eloquence in answering my question as well as her answer and her level of confidence in speaking as she was a senior mentor literally gave me a “high” that I had not expected. One young lady, Brittany Hibbert, even suggested that I have students like her tour with me to tell more about what the youth are experiencing in their lives and communities as well as at school!

With a well prepared handout that had more than we actually covered, and the fact that copies of my first book were waiting for the youth upon Ms. Lesesne’s return, the level of excitement and participation was hard to contain! Once finished and after having pictures taken by Ms. Shirley Baker, who is an old friend of my sister Edna who also graduated from Florida A & M, and bidding fond adieus, I organized my material and continued on this natural high until arriving home and relaxing a bit! In my honest opinion, it was a great success.

So, in closing this note, I wish you all a fine day and rest of the week!

Peace always,

John I. Cook, Director

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