I have always tried to use my platform as a means to serve my community.
Steve Harvey is a man never short on kindness, positivity, or inspiration – in fact – he is someone you could easily call a role model to young men everywhere. Not only is Steve a comedic genius (can anyone watch him and not laugh?), a television show host, a three-time Emmy-Award winner, and a celebrated author, he’s someone who has a big heart and uses his circumstance in ways that help to make life better for other people.
One of the ways Steve does this is through his mentoring program, The Steve Harvey Mentoring Program for Young Men, which aims to show fatherless young men how to be responsible, loving, and strong – both mentally and physically.
Faith doesn’t make it easy, faith makes it possible.
This is the quote Steve Harvey uses throughout his mentoring program for young men and the validity of the statement and what it means to the hearts of the young men Steve helps goes beyond what words can describe.
This past weekend, Steve hosted the 8th annual camp experience where he instills, alongside other notable mentors, values in the 13 – 18-year-old men that will enable them to carry on strong values when they return home to their day to day lives and feel a sense of pride and honor while doing so. For this camp, 220 youth showed up and had their lives changed by those who donate their time and heart to help make leaders out of the young men in attendance. Names like Choice Hotels CEO Steve Joice and former NBA guard Duane Ferrell joined as part of the role-models this time to inspire the young men in attendance. Motivational speaker Tony Gaskins joined the program in June as well, providing positivity to the young men and reminding them to keep pushing forward.
The statistics for fatherless youth are disheartening; from drug and alcohol use to incarceration and even behavior disorders – it’s a hard come up for those without a strong male figure to look up to. Young men who grow up in fatherless homes are twice as likely to end up incarcerated than those who come from two parent homes and in even more sobering news, 63% of youth suicides occur in children without fathers and 85% of children with behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.
During the weekend-long program, Steve and the rest of the mentors strive to make changes to those statistics and be part of the movement that helps create better futures for these young men. There are exercises in emotional and physical strength, time to spend doing simple things like fishing and archery, and lessons in patience, compassion, and being honorable. Since 2009, the program has helped over 1,500 young men and there are no signs of slowing down, which means a substantial number of lives will continue to be touched in the future.
In addition to Choice Hotels, the mentor program also gets assistance from State Farm, the U.S Army, Ford, AT&T, and Walgreen’s. Another incredible part of the weekend is that not only are the youth impacted, the mothers of the young men are invited to seminars that provide them with information on how to help their children with overcoming adversity, health and wellness, and how to encourage them to continue with education and moving forward to college.
The weekend is truly for building strong families and strong centers for young men to grow from and for single mothers to be proud of.
I was raised by a mother who was a Sunday school teacher and a father who worked hard. Together they taught me to give back.