COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A new non-profit, “Not a Bad Apple, Inc.," is hoping to inspire at-risk youth in the community after holding its Inaugural Men’s Empowerment Breakfast at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center Thursday morning. Founder Edgar Champagne, a local radio personality, says he founded the non-profit after hearing about recent shootings and crime in the community.
Aspiring university professor, Rhodes Scholar and author Caylin Moore shared his journey of perseverance as the keynote speaker at the breakfast.
“Coming from Compton, a city that’s writhe with gang membership and poverty and things like that, there’s so many different challenges pertaining to obtaining your education and the future," Moore explained.
He describes his experience growing up as a day-to-day struggle.
“It was often volatile at home, where we’re going to sleep at and how you’re going to be able to get the basic necessities of life. For me, those are the day-to-day struggles and overcoming them, the biggest key for me at least, was education and belief in myself and belief that God was going to work these things out," Moore said.
Moore has many role models, which he says are important for today’s youth to have.
“You cannot be what you cannot see," he said.
Moore says one of the biggest things our community can do is educating themselves on the problems our youth face everyday.
“That’s the truth part. The truth is the hardest part. To gain that truth and that knowledge of what’s actually going on. The second part is that reconciliation of thinking critically. What do we need to do to ameliorate these trends," he said.
Students had a chance to hear Moore’s message at the breakfast.
“I learned that, well, whatever you do, just make sure you be the best at it. It doesn’t matter, sweeping, be the best at it," said Jayden Williams, 8th grader at Aaron Cohn Middle School.
“The past few couple of days, I’ve been thinking in the back of my head how can I do this? And how can I continue on with life with no motivation? So, when I can here to the ceremony, it gave me a good idea and it gave me a good new mindset," said Montrayvious Spann, junior at Russell County High School.
After hearing Thursday morning’s speaker, Spann has some advice for his peers.
“Ask yourself about how your life is maneuvering so, when you’re moving in life, and when you wake up, always think about how can you do better in life and think well how can you be successful," he explained.
The Men’s Empowerment Breakfast is just the first step the non-profit is taking to help at-risk youth stay on the right track for a successful future. They also gave out awards at the breakfast recognizing role models in the community who have already made an impact on young males.