Across Volusia County recently, families and schools celebrated Bring Your Dad to School Day.
Despite the positive intent of this event, some children were left with broken promises and a yearning for a consistent male role model.
But there are men who still believe in the magic of a child and have stepped up as role models, mentors, father figures and friends.
This was on display at the Calling a Few Good Men Conference at The Center at Deltona Sept. 29. We were reminded of the goodness of men committed to serving our community.
“The most beautiful thing about Calling a Few Good Men is that you have men of all different races, different educational backgrounds, different career paths and different stories of how we got where we are today, but we have the same heart to see change for our youth and our community,” said Johnny Vickers, master of ceremonies at the event and founder of Vickers Speaks.
Like many, Vickers is a father and devoted husband and has also accepted the charge of being a role model and mentor.
On stage at Calling a Few Good Men, he shared the importance of being consistent and available to address the needs of young men.
The conference is a call to action to encourage men to take active roles in the lives of boys moving toward manhood.
Since the inception of the traveling conference in 2017, the Catalyst Mentoring Program, founded by Felicia Benzo, and the Man Up Mentoring Program, founded by Sean King, have recruited more than 30 men who have committed to being mentors in our schools and community.
This year’s event featured the multicultural views of more than 100 participants engaged in thought-provoking presentations and discussion.
State Rep. David Santiago, R-District 27, began the program by sharing his story of taking vital steps toward his success despite setbacks.
Androse Bell, general manager of Hard Rock Hotel in Daytona Beach, shared his challenges in the industry, the need to set intentional goals, and the value of having people believe in him and hold him accountable.
Vaughn Young, founder of Manhood Empowerment Nation in Naples, shared his story of losing his father at a young age and the consequences he faced when embraced by those who didn’t always make the right decisions, versus those who were positive role models.
Young had the room in awe after presenting an activity that had all the men in a circle, holding hands, with the women and children in the center, symbolizing protection and accountability.
“The impact we have on kids is long-lasting, and it’s something that a lot of the community lacks. Lack of positive male influence leads to underdeveloped skills only learned from a man,” said Derrick Collins, owner of the Stress and Anxiety Center and a panelist.
Collins is an active mentor in Volusia County and founded the Mr. and Mrs. Mentoring program.
Parents appreciated the program.
“As a single mother, I push for my young black son, because if I don’t, this cruel world will. The calling of a few good men gave Dontrell a perfect example of how a man went down the wrong road, but found the strength to turn it into something great,” said Summer Johnson, referring to Young’s presentation.
The day ended with messages such as these resonating in the minds of men, and those who are raising young men, to celebrate, collaborate and support all efforts that help to strengthen the family unit, build leaders and engage the next generation.
If you are interested in answering the call, or would like to know more about Calling a Few Good Men Call to Action, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit me on Facebook.
— Cameron, a longtime educator, lives in Orange City.