Boys Leadership Summit stresses success in Chattanooga

Boys Leadership Summit stresses success in Chattanooga

October 18th, 2012 by Yolanda Putman in Local Regional News

Avery Smit Bo Walker, Leanders Burns and Temus Terry, from left, attend a planning meeting for the third annual Boys Leadership Summit in the Cherokee Room at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on Tuesday afternoon.

Photo by Jake Daniels/Times Free Press.

IF YOU GO

* What: Boys Leadership Summit

* When: 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday

* Where: UTC University Center, 615 McCallie Ave.

* Who: Eric Foster, a broadcaster at Brewer Broadcasting, will be the main speaker.

* Information: Call Temus Terry at 316-0698 or visit www.boysleadershipsummit.webs.com

Seven men sit around a table at UTC, discussing ways to help younger men stay out of trouble and encourage them to be successful in school.

The men, who met Tuesday, were focusing on the third annual Boys Leadership Summit, which is scheduled Saturday.

"We want to educate young men and give them a different direction; college, trade school. We want to put all the options on the table," said summit organizer Temus Terry.

Organizers are working with organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Boys and Girls Club of Chattanooga to make sure all boys attending the summit have access to a mentor, but more men are needed to reach that goal.

Big Brothers Big Sisters marketing and fund development coordinator Ansley Kellermann said it has 130 children waiting to be matched. Most of them are boys. Boys and Girls Club Executive Vice President Debbie Gray said of the 350 active male teens, 90 percent of them come from single-family homes headed by women. About 200 of them need mentors.

"We want black men, white men, or whatever," Terry said. "Color doesn't have a factor."

Volunteers are also needed to serve food, register people and direct people to classes.

The summit will also include representatives from various youth organizations and military representatives. And it will feature workshops about education, fitness and a roundtable discussion sponsored by the Chattanooga Gang Task Force.

About 300 people are expected to participate. The event is free to all middle and high school age boys and their parents. Breakfast and lunch will be provided for registered participants.

Anyone interested in volunteering or being a mentor should meet with organizers at UTC's University Center at 6 p.m. Friday.

Organizers are also calling on businesses and charitable organizations to provide enough financial support so that the summit can be held monthly.

"We can't do this once a year and think (the boys are) OK for the rest of the year," said Bryan Samuel, UTC's diversity officer. "We have to put the same kind of time in with them that the bad influences put in with them."