What is an educator?
ed·u·ca·tor | \ ˈe-jə-ˌkā-tər \
By definition, it is someone who is "skilled in teaching; a student of theory and practice." (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/educator)
If we delve deeper into its meaning, we see, that an educator is a student who never stops learning. The juxtaposition of student and teacher is in the idea that you teach what you have learned, and learn, what you hope to one day teach.
Brian Herbert once said, “The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice.”
We Are All Educators (WAAE) is a career mentorship program that offers opportunities and exposure to high school students who have vested interest in learning about different fields of study. The philosophy of this organization is that we all have something special that we can offer to the world. By using our unique gifting, God-given talents, and abilities, we can build up our communities and be agents of grace and of change locally and globally. Every day, the board members, students, and supporters of the WAAE willingly commit themselves to learning more and growing their mindsets and expanding the vision that they have for themselves. This organization was conceptualized by its founder and visionary Darrell Holloman in 2006, while he served in the Peace Corps. With diligence, dogged determination, faith, and resilience, The We Are All Educators Organization was established in December of 2016 as a non-profit organization. Since then, Holloman along with his trusted board members, have been boots on the ground; seeking support from the community it most closely serves, in order to best help and support the young adults who grace their path.
At the We Are All Educators second annual Gala, which took place virtually on October 18, 2020, do to the stay at home order issued earlier this year, because of the Corona virus, Holloman boasted that in just three years’ time, “the WAAE has helped over 100 students get summer jobs, aided over 100 students with their college applications and job applications, and has helped nearly 600 students think about and devise a plan of action for themselves after they graduate high school.” One of The WAAE’s board member's, Melissa Jordan, also shared that though 2020 has been challenging for all us, “The WAAE is small but mighty organization; and this summer, was able to provide a virtual internship experience and curriculum for a cohort of twelve interns the organization hosted from Prince Georges County and Washington D.C.” The students learned everything from resume writing, to entrepreneurship, and they even had the unique opportunity to meet with a representative from IBM.
This exciting venture opened the door for The WAAE to network and partner with IBM collaborating with them to bring IBM's worldwide program to the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area! Holloman excitedly shared that the “Open PTech Bishop McNamara High School STEM Program powered by IBM presented by The WAAE" is set to start exclusively at Bishop McNamara High School in Forestville, Maryland. This program will offer professional digital badges and certificates, mentors, an opportunity to receive an Associates degree and a chance to intern with major corporations such as IBM and other Fortune 500 companies!
The Gala was jam packed with active participants. The chat room offered a space in which people felt comfortable to share their thoughts, ideas, support, and accolades, and served as a way to network with those who were in attendance. There was an interactive breakout session, where attendees were able to converse more intimately with one another and with some of The WAAE students. There was also live entertainment from DMV’s own Go-Go band, "Suttle", during the dinner portion of the evening provided by Uber Eats.
Some of the most touching moments of the event were hearing from the students of We Are All Educators. Participants gained a better understanding of why an organization like this so critical, and what it means to those who are most closely connected to it. One student, Angela Brown, The WAAE’s 2020 President said, “The WAAE is a safe space where we all can be mentored. The guidance of The WAAE helped me to figure out what I wanted to do, and how I could get there.” Through the work of We Are All Educators, the dreams of these students who aspire to be entrepreneurs, bio-engineers, doctors, pharmacologists, philanthropists, and leaders, do not just stay dreams, they become real possibilities! Holloman and his team provide opportunities for those students to see themselves in and occupy those spaces with confidence.
We Are All Educators continues to be a beacon of hope and light, and it shines brightly on the leaders of the next generation. It is with wisdom, perseverance, and integrity that this organization forges ahead to make the world a better place, starting at home, in its own community.
Connect with The WAAE Today!
The WAAE Website
The WAAE on IG
The WAAE on Facebook
“Ability is what you’re capable of doing.
“The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.”
To be a part of the We Are All Educators Organization, in any capacity, is to be a part of an experience: birthed as a vision in the heart of a willing vessel, Darrell Holloman. As its proud Founder and Creator, Holloman sets a standard of excellence for his students, colleagues, friends and neighbors. He is continuing to make dynamic strides in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area while actively serving his community with a spirit of humility. Holloman stated that “We Are All Educators started off as the theme and motto of all of my classes. In order to get the students engaged, I let them know on day one, that the class is not just about me, it is about them as well. They are also the teachers. They are also the educators. As well as they come prepared is a reflection on how smoothly the class will run.” Holloman instills in each one of his students that they have something special to offer the world and no matter who they meet along the way, they have an opportunity to learn from them. The idea for We Are All Educators , a career mentorship organization, was birthed in his spirit in 2006, while having a “debate between himself and other Peace Corps volunteers about what’s missing in education.” Holloman’s focus even then, was to shed light on creating programs, partnerships and opportunities for career mentorship and real-life exposure for the purpose of education. He said, “it’s been put upon my heart and my spirit to fill that gap in whatever way I can.” It was that commission and his passion for bettering the experience of education that brought the community together for the We Are All Educators Garden Gala on a beautiful sunny afternoon on Sunday, August 4, 2019 in the District at Fathom Gallery. The Gala served as a fundraising event and the purpose was to celebrate the accomplishments of the organization thus far, and to charge event participants to get more connected with the vision through the offering of one’s time, resources and funds.
The organization’s board is a passionate group of men and women who are working and operating in the gifts that God has given them. Collectively, they are using their knowledge to perform a greater work in the community that this organization serves. Board member Dr. Robert Wingfield stated, “I know that the WAAE has a presence in D.C. because of Darrell’s ties to high schools like Eastern High School and D.C. in general. Many students may be first generation college bound and I believe WAAE occupies a space where they can get information about what college is going to be like and aid students in choosing the right major, field, and explore their interests early enough so that they are prepared and go to college with more of a plan.” For Dr. Wingfield, it was important for him to be a part of the WAAE board because he connected with the “sense of urgency” that Holloman had about getting the organization off of the ground. He said, “I knew that under the leadership of Darrell, the program had the potential to be successful. I saw my role as helping out with the when, making it come to fruition sooner rather than later and God allotted me the time to be able to do that in its formative stage.”
The WAAE Garden Gala also served as a networking opportunity for the current interns and alumni of the program. They were the real stars of the afternoon. They dressed the part of young professionals: the men, dressed in suits, ties, and wingtips while the ladies were styled in vibrantly colored dresses and heels that reflected their personalities. Guests were greeted with firm handshakes and beautiful smiles and warmly invited into the event space. The students mixed and mingled so freely among the guests, sharing with them their dreams and aspirations. They genuinely seemed to be interested in the professionals who were present, whether they be educators or entrepreneurs. The event was very well organized and had a unique way of making the participants feel special. Just outside of the event space was a red carpet where guests were photographed by professional photographers, while inside, the media team captured priceless footage for real time social media content, and Simply Ari Media was present to speak with guests directly to help recreate the experience for those who were unable to attend.
It was important to capture the spirit of the afternoon through the eyes of Holloman’s students, because they are truly the heart of the organization. Mila De Souza, an alumna of The WAAE, stated that she wanted to be a part of the program because, “Mr. Holloman focuses so much on helping other people and I was especially drawn to the fact that we would be able to be partnered with a mentor who would be able to help us throughout our lives and really show us the “WAAE.” De Souza also mentioned that what she appreciated most about the We Are All Educators Organization was that the program took the pressure off of its students who hadn’t yet figured out what they wanted to do, and encouraged them to explore their interests along the way; reassuring them that they would have the support they needed throughout their journey of discovery.
Akilah Johnson and Deverrick McAllister both alumni of the WAAE, said they have been a part of We Are All Educators for approximately two to three years respectively. Holloman recruited Johnson, who was the Google Doodle contest winner in 2016. She became more involved with the organization because of his genuine support of her talent. She said, “What made me want to be apart of the WAAE and really love it was Mr. Holloman’s consistency. It was nice to have someone who was always there.” McAllister was drawn to the program because he witnessed how Mr. Holloman impacted his friends, “who were interns of the WAAE since the program was started.” This summer, he served as an intern and worked directly with Holloman and is currently using him as a resource to develop his own non-profit organization.
The Garden Gala was graced by the musical styling of Terrence Cunningham, former contestant of NBC’s The Voice. Cunningham is familiar with the impact that education can have on young minds, as he was a music teacher at his alma mater, Friendly High School. To him, “we are all educators” means, “leading the way.” He stated, “To teach is to lead, to lead by example; it is to nurture, to practice patience, compassion, and tolerance. These are also all of things that make a good parent; because in a way, when you are teaching you are parenting. I think if more teachers viewed it that way, and watched what they said and how they conducted themselves they would become more aware that that is going to be the model of these young malleable minds.”
He mentioned that it meant a great deal to him to be a part of the event, because, “We are all someone’s example. Everyone is a culmination of their life’s experience. If I can be so privileged in any way to show that with time, dedication and practice, you can achieve anything [which goes back to what I experienced with my own parents, who were so keen on nurturing and cultivating what I was able to do], if I can similarly be that mirror for the young people involved in the WAAE, then I think I am doing the right thing.”
The We Are All Educators Organization provides unique opportunities for its students to be exposed to different fields. Over the past two years, Holloman has taken his pupils to meet 93.9 WKYS, radio personality, Angie Ange, sit down and converse with Senator Bernie Sanders, visit the United Negro College Fund headquarters, along with many other exciting excursions. It is clear that God’s favor and Holloman’s network is propelling the mission of this organization forward. For the kids especially, these are moments that they will remember for the rest of their lives. Opportunities as special as these encourage the heart of the students to dream bigger!
The We Are All Educators mission beautifully echoes Romans 12: 6-8, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”
It encourages us to celebrate our differences and come together collectively, every joint supplying, to make a positive impact in the world. In doing so we are set on the path“WAAE” to the purpose and destiny that God has prepared for us.
"An Investment in Knowledge Pays the Best Interest."
As a young professional I have a responsibility to be knowledgeable about matters that not only pertain to my field but also in subject matters that can help me advance in my field. When Simply Ari Media was created in 2014, all I had was a word from the Lord and the downloaded vision that He imparted to me. I wasn't sure how all of the pieces would come together nor was I aware of how much work it would take to get it off the ground. The adventure on which the Lord has me is truly Holy Spirit led. He has connected me with people who have been willing to seed into the vision of this digital-media ministry and have supported the strides that we have made over the last four years. Now, we are transitioning into a new season and a new phase of the process. I have been prompted by the Lord to invest my time in reading self-help books that pertain to financing and budgeting, becoming more learned about the fields of Communication, Journalism, Public Relations and Social Media, and attending events that celebrate, educate and elevate young entrepreneurs in and around the Washington DC Metropolitan area.
The most recent of these events was the Wine and Wealth Soiree hosted by Ashley Johnson, founder and Chief Executive Officer of ANJPR Consulting LLC. She and I met at a business brunch a few months prior and kept in contact over social media. Ashley reached back out and invited me to be apart of her event's press room. I was humbled by the invitation and kindly and willingly obliged her request. What a wonderful opportunity to be able to delve into community journalism on an even larger scale! On Sunday, April 15th I arrived at Potomac Shores Golf Club in Dumfries, Virginia with my press pass around my neck, a fresh coat of Milani "Red Label" lipstick on my lips, a notepad in my attaché, and confidence in my stride. I was ready to work. I started off how I do all things, in prayer; asking the Lord to give me fluidity of thought and speech and to anoint the work of my hands. He met me in a tremendous way! When I was escorted into the press room I was kindly greeted by other men and women who were setting up their cameras and microphones. We exchanged pleasantries and we all shared in the excitement of the afternoon. I had the opportunity to interview a number of people: sponsors of the event, artists and entrepreneurs.
I asked the questions that I came in with, but as I listened more intently to the questions that the other press members were asking, I was inspired to go deeper. I asked the Holy Spirit to give me unique questions that were specific to the Simply Ari audience. Almost instantaneously the questions began to roll off of my tongue (God is so faithful!). Being that we were all gathered together to celebrate Financial Literacy Month I thought it fitting to ask "what the three top things were that young adults can do to invest in their futures and in their network?" I got so many good answers. Here are just a few:
"Always try to minimize debt. Whatever debt you have, pay it down. Live empty while you're young (you don't need a whole lot.) Have a clean lifestyle. By that I mean spiritually, health wise, and your space; sometimes too much clutter can cloud the mind. Lastly, no matter who you are, always have a silent partner, and that silent partner is God."
- Dr. Marvette Thomas, DDS
"Study your craft whatever that is. You need to study all facets of it. Understand that you have to spend money to make money. If you want your brand to be big and well known, you do have to invest in it yourself. You have to be the first investor. Lastly, stay away from credit cards. If you can pay cash, get an extra job, have somewhere where you can use that income to support your dream."
- Shannon "Shannie" Cosby, Makeup Artist
"Invest in yourself every single day, build up your skills and invest financially as."
Michell C. Clark, Social Entrepreneur
"First and foremost, get the knowledge. You need to start reading, seeking wise council, and start planning today for a better future. Things you need to start looking into are: emergency funds (3 to 6 months of your income). Second, get out of debt. Third, you need to have a plan. You need to have financial guidance. You need to have someone to help you build a strategy that's going to help you get from point A to point B. Seek mentors, look for people who are in a better position than you are and ask them how they got there."
- Jonathan Wright, Financial Coach
Another question is I asked was, "How do you think social media has changed the game for entrepreneurs?"
"Social media has changed everything; because now you have the ability to brand yourself. You can populate Twitter, Instagram, Facebook as much as you choose to instead of paying someone else to do it." and I loved this part, "as an entrepreneur, I can appreciate the we don't all have big budgets for marketing. The "do it yourself" aspect is empowering."
- Summer Pearson, Recording Artist
"Having a brand on social is so vital for small business owners because you're able to organically connect with the right people and receive clientele. Being engaged, promoting your services, responding right way those little things make a small business, especially when it's growing."
- Ashley Johnson, CEO of ANJPR Consulting
The common threads throughout the afternoon were: to believe in your "why", be knowledgeable about the aspects of your business, move in the direction of your passion and invest in your dream.
I am so grateful for the insights that I received. As a solopreneur and social media enthusiast, I was dazzled with the depth of knowledge that each of the people I spoke with were able to share. I appreciated their candor and their encouragement. Most of all, I was appreciative and inspired by the people with whom I was able to network. I am very much looking forward to collaborating with the amazing creatives in the near future!
"You can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail a revolution."
In a societal climate where cultural awareness and different forms of protest are at the forefront of our nation, the release of Black Panther could not have come at a better time. The topical points in this cinematic masterpiece are culturally relevant, informative and timely. This film is ABSOLUTELY necessary for where we are in the world right now. Great art reflects the times; and Ryan Coogler's strategic portrayal of this Marvel character, his back story and all of the intricacies within the movie, mirror the realities of the day. The performance by the cast, their commitment to their roles and to working together to tell this story and tell it well made the experience all the more fulfilling as an observer. For two-hours and fourteen minutes viewers are introduced to a world that encompasses all of the good, beautiful and creative potential that has yet to be realized in all of us. It's engaging, it's clever, and it is masterfully edited and produced.
Black Panther was already a highly anticipated film, but on its opening week, it has quickly taken on a life uniquely its own. This is such a MOMENT for popular culture. Social Media has coined the phrase "#WakandaForever" in support of the movie, and it has evoked a deeper sense of pride in the hearts of the African Diaspora and is being demonstrated through the wearing of traditional African garb or entirely black ensemble to the movie theatre. This Black Panther movement is for a new generation. It is a movement where authenticity reigns supreme and giving yourself permission to own your power is the key to your success. The message throughout the film is not severe or abrasive, but rather powerfully present and purposeful.
A film as special as this, is one that will break barriers and spark courageous conversations. You cannot help but feel a sense of hope and inspiration after watching the movie. Words like integrity, service, leadership, goodness and excellence are woven into the very fabric of this story, a story that will never lose its relevance. We all need to be reminded every now and again of our rich heritage, our history and our inheritance.
"The mark of a strong society is one that does not allow its story to be forgotten. "
This film is an absolute MUST SEE ! Check your local movie theatres for your tickets!!!
Last Saturday (1/20/18), I had the distinct privilege of attending the "Beauties in Business Brunch" in Camp Springs, Maryland at the Hampton Inn & Suites. When I arrived at the venue, I was warmly greeted by the two hosts of the event, Timea G. and Ashlee K. and presented with a beautiful rose at the door. As soon as I entered the event space, there was a refreshing sense of positive vibes that seemed to fill the room. I instantly felt a sense of belonging even though this was my very first time attending this event. The event was beautifully catered, with a variety of food from which to choose: chicken skewers, scrambled eggs, bacon, potatoes, vegetarian options, an assortment of bread, gourmet cupcakes and chilled drinks. On the tables, each guest received a goodie-bag and personalized "Beauties in Business Brunch" packages with a pen, a mini notepad, and mints inside. I was so impressed with the thoughtfulness of the hostesses and marketing materials they provided for the attendees.
The theme of this year's event was, "Social Media vs. Reality." Once guests had their plates, Timea and Ashlee, introduced the panelists for the day, Lilian Prince Mitchell, Author of 10 Dates Later..., Matt Rand, Founder of DMV Network, and Chardelle Moore, News Anchor, on Fox 45 Baltimore TV. Hostess, Ashlee K. mentioned in a later interview with Simply Ari Media, that this was the first year that "Beauties in Business Brunch" had a male panelist, saying that "we wanted to offer a different perspective." The first discussion was entitled, "Visibility vs. Value"; The idea here being that society often times likes to lump these two terms together, but as the panelists and event curators suggested, Visibility and Value are not synonymous. My take away from the first discussion, was that our value as individuals, and as business owners should not be based on the instant gratification that is offered to us by social media platform (through likes and followers), because so often, those moments are fleeting, what sustains us is knowing first Whose we are, knowing and understanding our calling, and recognizing that as Jonathan McReynolds so eloquently put it, "we will always be relevant to those we are called to be relevant to." I believe that a good measure of value, in life and in business, is the lasting impact that we strive to make on the audience we desire to reach. We can be impactful from the front or behind the scenes. God can use us where we are, if we allow Him.
The second discussion was entitled, "#ThirstTrapping." This particular topic really go guests riled up and many conversations stemmed from it. Timea and Ashlee first asked the panelists to define for themselves what "being thirsty" meant. Though each panelist offered different examples, the general idea was the same. Being "Thirsty", is a term used to describe a disingenuous approach of gaining attention, at the expense of one's own self-worth, to satisfy a need to feel wanted and accepted.
The conversations that ensued, touched on what Timea G. described as "The Copy-Cat Syndrome", where a person, or a brand begins to blatantly take the ideas of another and offer those ideas to their audience as their own. To this point, Timea said, "Own your lane. You will not be misguided, or detoured from what you have been called to do." In essence, there is no need to copy, God has placed something special inside of each of us to exude and offer to the world. Once we align ourselves with that gifting, there is no stopping us. Remember, no one can do you like you. Know your worth!
After having a chance to speak with people around the room from the curators, to the panelists, to the attendees, what I gathered was that this event was really about empowering and celebrating the uniqueness of the individuals in that room, and offering an unforced opportunity to network and seed into the lives of those in attendance through word and if so led, through a monetary gift. I came in with a plan of how I thought my afternoon was going to go, but the Lord superseded my expectations. I came away with so much more!
"You are a representation of the content you create." Timea G.
"As a creator, you are an innovator. You create culture, and culture gravitates toward you." Timea G.
"There is power in partnership." Ashlee K.
"God Blesses Unity."
"A bad attitude will block your blessing." Chardrelle Moore
"Real recognizes real, for REAL." Timea G.
"When your business becomes your lifestyle, then they [people] will buy it."
"You can't direct people to where you were, if you want their business now." Ashlee K.
To learn more about Timea G., Love Life Media, Ashlee K., The Ashlee Agency, Beauties In Business Brunch or the panelists Lillian Prince Mitchell, Matt Rand, and Chardelle Moore, be sure to follow them on IG!
Timea G- @llm_lovelife
Ashlee K- @theashleeagency
Beauties In Business- @beautiesnbusinessbrunch
Lillian Prince Mitchell- @10dateslater
Matt Rand- @dmvnetwork
Chardelle Moore- @chardellemoore
There is nothing quite like the thrill of seeing a basketball game in the stadium at which it is being played. People from all over rally together for a few glorious, unforgettable moments to watch their favorite team go head-to-head with their opponent. It's an event like no other. On Sunday (3/5/17), I had the distinct pleasure of going to the most recent Washington Wizards game here in DC courtesy of City Dance Dream. I along with my sisters helped aide the dance troupe (which consists of elementary to high school aged children from Washington DC) in preparing them for their big halftime show performance at the event. The pulsating excitement of the kids as well as the City Dance Dream coordinators and dance instructors could be felt and heard by everyone in attendance. As the children lined up to go onto the floor, I trailed behind them and was able to sit courtside to watch their performance up close! That was a really neat experience. The City Dance Dream troupe's performance was well received by the crowd and the kids looked like they were having the time of their lives. They gave expressive faces, held their stances, executed their choreography well, and danced their hearts out. They really did leave it all on the floor! City Dance as an organization does a lot of good in their community and it was an invaluable experience to witness that first hand. "CityDance DREAM is a nationally recognized after-school program, providing dance classes, performance opportunities, mentoring, tutoring and college counseling to students from underserved communities across Washington, DC. DREAM has been serving youth in grades three through twelve at public schools and community sites across the nation’s capital since 2005. DREAM’s mission is to use dance as a pathway for youth to graduate from high school, discover their potential and pursue their dreams. " (https://www.citydance.net/dream/dreamprogram)
To top off what was a very eventful evening, I even got a chance to see and briefly chat with Entertainment Journalist, Gia Peppers backstage, just before she did her live segments (an unexpected, but very pleasant surprise). Thank you to CityDance for having us be apart of your special evening! Keep up the great work!
To learn more about City Dance, visit their website at https://www.citydance.net/
The Serengeti Gallery is home to eclectic Afrocentric artwork and other unique pieces. I had the pleasure of attending the gallery's Annual Evening of Good Cheer: Shop and Mingle Holiday event with my sister Rachel; in support of my friend Jasmine Duke, whose glassware line, Mahogany Cheers, was being featured and sold. The other vendors in attendance were jewelery designers. There were homemade candles, incense, books and beautiful Christmas ornaments for sale as well. Prices for most of the pieces being sold ranged anywhere from the mid 20s to mid 40s and up. As soon as you walked into the gallery, guests were welcomed with festive holiday decor and Christmas music and asked to participate in the raffel for a chance to win prizes throughout the evening. The walls of the gallery were graced with large statement art pieces, and each nook within Serengeti housed something different. Though small in build, what I appreciated about the quaint space is that it didn't feel in the least bit confined. There was room to walk around and really see, feel and interact with the artwork that was there. Guests enjoyed hors d'oeuvres and bottomless cups of hot chocolate and hot cider. It was the people who really made the evening memorable. The owners were very kind, warm, and attentive; and the vendors were eager to chat with those in attendance about the inspiration for their pieces and share their stories with those who felt so inclined to listen. Their passion for what they created and are continuing to create was truly inspiring. Perhaps unexpectedly, the night turned out to be an evening of conversation and mentorship between seasoned women and millenial women; Girl Power at its purest. Needless to say, my sister and I enjoyed our time at the gallery immensely. If ever you are looking for a unique place to feed your creativity, the Serengeti Gallery is the place for you! I would encourage you to visit their website for more information on gallery hours and events!
Park Central, 7919 Central Ave
Capitol Heights, MD 20743
For many, high school and college are a training ground for real life. The lessons we learn there have the power to shape the way that we see and perceive the world around us. This weekend, NFL players Jerome Couplin III, Defensive Back for the Philadelphia Eagles (#21) and Brandon Coleman, Wide Receiver for the New Orleans Saints (#16) treaded on their old stomping ground at Bishop McNamara High School located in Forestville, Maryland to give back to their community in a very special way.
For the past two years, both Couplin and Coleman have been the faces and hosts of a football Youth Day Camp in the Washington DC metropolitan area. On Saturday (July 9th), the players again hosted this event. Volunteers mentioned that this year's turn out was significantly larger than the previous ones. Children in attendance were between the ages of 8 and15. Their parents were encouraged to stay and attend the free parental educational workshop, where they had a opportunity to participate in an interactive Q&A session.
Couplin shared, "It feels great [to come back home and give back to the community]. It's a great experience; it gives us an opportunity to remember where we came from: not just high school but, being an 8, 10 or 12 year-old who looks up to an athlete in the area or someone you knew who was your favorite player. Being able to be on the opposite side of that is a blessing."
Coleman said that his main goal for the day was "For the kids to have fun." "I wanted them to interact with their peers, learn some football, teach them some lessons on and off the field, and have them hear influential men speak who can be positive role models for them."
Both of these young men are driven, passionate athletes, and whether they are on the field playing the game that they love or on the sidelines, Couplin and Coleman are representations of God's giving heart and His light. When asked how they implement their faith on and off the field, Jerome told us, "I pray before the games. The team and I pray after the games, and off the field as a Christian, I try to walk right, and be the best that I can be."
Brandon shared similar thoughts saying, "I give thanks to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on and off the field. I stay in my Word, and I do my best to uplift the brothers that I play with and that community. It's all about discipleship, that's what God calls us to do; and, though I'm not perfect, that's what I strive to do."
As football season approaches, be sure to be on the look out for these two; they are going places and we are very much looking forward to seeing how the Lord is going to use them for His Kingdom purposes!
“10 the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11 “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”
~ Revelation 4:10-11 (NASB) ~
True Voices is a Christian organization and “national movement [whose mission is to] proclaim the Gospel through spoken word & the performing arts.” This organization currently has six (6) active chapters in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Cincinnati, and Chicago. As a fan of this unique organization, I like to keep up with them by following their social media pages. About a month ago I got an invitation from a friend via Facebook to attend an event on Saturday, April 3oth hosted by True Voices called CROWNED, the premiere event of the year for the DC chapter. Immediately the title intrigued me. The page’s description read, “We will be sharing poems on the subject of rags and royalty. Telling the story of a King, dead and then risen for the redemption of mankind through Christ. CROWNED will be an awesome line up of poetry, art, and music and as expected, True Voices poets from NY, Philly, Chicago, and Cincy may also be joining us to “go in’ for the Kingdom. You don’t want to miss this show!”
I bought my tickets on the 21st and trusted the Lord that He would meet my sister and me there, and did He ever! We arrived at Reid Temple’s northern campus and walked into a nearly packed sanctuary. Excitement and anticipation for what lied ahead flowed up and down the church pews. Comedian Kasaun Wilson hosted the event and throughout the evening kept everyone in stitches. He was the true embodiment of the scripture found in Proverbs 17:22 which says, “a merry heart doeth good like a medicine.“
The featured spoken word artists of the evening, Taylor Smith, Jharmaine Boyd, Just-A-Vessel, Chris Goins, Camden Webb, Chris Jones, Epiphany, Kezia the Poet, Sheryl Roberton, and Crystal Brandon all in their own unique way, pieced together a story for their audience. Depicting for them through their words, the beauty that is found in the life that Jesus led; from His birth to His ministry, from His ministry to His death, from His death to the grave, from the grave to His Resurrection, from His Resurrection to His Throne and from His Throne into our hearts. This seamless story presented by these talented wordsmiths gave the audience the freedom to reflect, reverence, praise and worship. For those precious moments, time was at a stand still and the Holy Spirit was truly present in the midst of all who attended.
Toward the end of the evening, Reverend Terrance McKinley the Director of Ministries at Reid Temple AME Church’s North Campus led the group in corporate worship, prayed, opened the altar to those who needed prayer and gave a call for those who wanted to give their lives to the Lord. The mixing and mingling happened shortly there after both inside the sanctuary and in the church foyer. Vendors sold products, cameras flashed, laughter and conversation resounded and abounded and Jesus was truly represented from start to finish.
True Voices DC should be very proud of what they accomplished this weekend. I know a lot of time and hard work went into the development and execution of the event. I for one was blessed by all that transpired and I am confident that many others were as well. I very much look forward to attending more True Voices events in the future!
If you’d like more information about True Voices or want to know how you can get involved with the organization, they are very active online. Be sure to visit their website and their social media pages!
“The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” ~ 2 Chronicles 16:9
This weekend (Saturday, April 23rd) I had the wonderful opportunity to witness the birth of a dream. I attended and discretely covered a musicians clinic at Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland where a newly developed non-profit organization called Vessel Music and Mentoring held its first ever event.
Music lovers of all ages came out to support the vision of one man, the founder of Vessel Music and Mentoring, Mark “TJ” Adams. The interactive forum gave attendees the opportunity to hear the stories of and glean insight and wisdom from seasoned professionals in the industry and in music ministry. The keynote speakers included, renowned Music Director, Anthony Tony Walker, Percussionist, Willie Howell, and Gospel Recording Artist, Kevin LeVar. The environment was intimate, giving each of the speakers an opportunity to be transparent with their audience and share sage advice with them as well.
Anthony Walker shared the importance of saying “yes” to the Lord and emphasized that, “When you say “Yes” to God, it’s not saying yes one time, it’s saying yes to Him every time”, and Kevin LeVar challenged the attendees to understand that in whatever capacity that they serve the Lord, they must learn for themselves that “your service to Him is not equal to your relationship with Him.” LeVar also encouraged the participants to come into full agreement with the purpose that God has for them. He said, “[because] anything that God whispers to you, it is already established and guaranteed.” The take away was that God has already made the provision, we just have to take that leap of faith.
Toward the end of the event, Mark shared his heart and his vision for Vessel Music and Mentoring saying, “Vessel is about teaching the youth and young adults to stay on top of life, while staying connected with the music that they love.”
For it being the very first event for Mark and his team, the Musicians Clinic was an afternoon well spent. I’m so glad that I had an opportunity to support the vision of this man of God and see the manifestation of his dream realized.
Be on the look out for more events from Vessel Music and Mentoring coming soon to the Washington DC Metropolitan area!
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