Day one of the A.P. Torrence Youth Leadership Academy was busy and productive!
We started out this morning with check-in at Paradise Missionary Baptist Church, followed by a delicious breakfast prepared by Ms. Reva. The Truth Teller, Inc. founder and CEO, Reverend Kenneth G. Torrence, or Professor Ken, opened the academy with a heartfelt and powerful welcome for the 11 students. Pastor Charles A. Harper, III addressed the students next and closed his message with prayer.
The students were introduced to their counselors for the week: Julian “The General” Smith, and Darkese Wicker of Morehouse College. Julian and Darkese shared their personal stories and their expectations of the students.
Our first session, facilitated by Professor Ken, focused on leadership. Students had an opportunity to “walk the wall”; a collage featuring 22 African American male heroes such as Muhammad Ali, Frederick Douglass, Maynard Jackson, Howard Thurman, and Jordan Greenway. Each hero’s picture featured a quote that represented a unique quality for leadership. Students had an opportunity to select one hero, and identify the meaning behind his famous quote.
Next, students were energized with a warm-up led by Darkese and “The General,” and later, their teamwork skills were put to the test with the Human Knot. During this activity, students had to untangle themselves, in the shortest amount of time possible, without letting go of hands, into a circle.
After feasting on lunch graciously provided by the Vine City Chick-fil-A, students had an opportunity to work on their own personal goals.
The day ended with a rousing and inspiring message from Tuskegee, Alabama minister, lawyer, professor, and civil rights activist, Dr. Roosevelt Walker. Dr. Walker challenged the students to embrace the history of their mother country (Africa), and to remember him, “not only as a brother who wore an African robe, but as a brother who walked history.”
We are all looking forward to another full day tomorrow!