September 10, 2014

Saving Lost, Angry, and Confused Young Men

As you may know, I love the stories of one man, against all odds, stepping out to make the world a better place for young men and the rest of us. Ashanti Branch is one of those men, and I've written about him previously. I bring him to your attention again for your inspiration and to tell you about a way you can support his powerful mission and very good work.

By way of background, Ashanti was raised by a single mother on welfare and, at 6 years old, had to become the man of the house. Like myself and so many men in that situation, Ashanti had no male guidance, and says he, ". . . was left to figure manhood out by myself." He became an angry, lost, confused middle school kid, who was failing and headed for disaster. Luckily for Ashanti, there was one teacher who saw something special in him and gave him just enough caring support and encouragement to help him dig out of the hole he was in. Ashanti says that teacher, ". . . saved my life." And that's why he's showing up so powerfully in the lives of high-risk young guys today.

. . .supporting young high school men of color
who are failing fifty percent or more of their classes.

Ashanti's mission is to ". . . create a world of freedom by encouraging youth to break their chains." You can hear how his passion for this work comes through in this interview I did with him in 2013. In that conversation, Ashanti describes his Ever Forward Club, in which he's supporting young men of color in high school who are failing fifty percent or more of their classes. His success rates in moving kids from a path of almost certain failure to a college track are spectacular.

Because of his amazing success statistics, passion, and purpose, Ashanti has found his way to the TED stage where he's reaching an even larger audience. His TED talk is in the video below. In a strange and sad twist, the audio from his TED talk wasn't recorded. But lucky for us, one of his supporters captured most of his presentation on an iPhone and that's what you'll see. The quality isn't the best but his presentation rocks! His leading story about primate research, bananas, and young guys is heartbreaking.



If this clip doesn't show up use this link.

YOU can support Ashanti and his work by making a donation on his Indiegogo fund-raiser campaign page . If you want to go the extra mile, send this post link to your Facebook friends and let's see if we can help Ashanti realize his vision of supporting 100 young men in Ever Forward Clubs in 10 schools by December 2014.

While each of us could do a little something to support the young men around us, most of us can't step into the front lines of man-making like Ashanti. What I'm sure, however, is through your donation, you and Ashanti will soon be making an important difference in the lives of otherwise lost young men in the Ever Forward campaign.



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