BOYS 2 MEN

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Copyright © 2016, Janice S Ramkissoon.

THANK YOU ORIGIN

​Hearing the song, ‘So Confused’[1] for the first time, I was sitting in the audience of an Origin Graduation—watching a young man tap dancing to that song. It always took me back to that event whenever I hear that song. Recently, I heard it playing and was transported once more to that event. However, that recent encounter allowed me to see something very powerful.


I saw two leaders in our community, performing in two separate roles. One was busy engaging in a session of mentoring young men while the other was engaged in implementing strategies, ensuring mentors are trained and mentees have a forum to showcase their talents and set on the path to reach their true potential in life. It made me smile because I saw great leadership in action. I can say this with confidence about one of the leaders I saw in that vision as I have encountered a great number of leaders in my lifetime and can now differentiate between effective and ineffective leadership.

In that vision, I saw the power and the spirit of unity. I also saw compassion, brotherly love, sacrificial giving and a cord knitting together the broken pieces of our community—each one just a link in the chain, in the grand scale of things, yet a leader in his own right. It was a moment of inspiration that led me to give thanks for the men in my world.  Particularly those, who, despite the odds against them, continue to effectively lead the next generation of leaders in their care. It was a brief moment with a lasting impact. In my sharing, I hope to encourage, motivate and inspire leaders of today and tomorrow to be effective in their current and future leadership roles.

[1] By 2Play featuring Raghav and Jucxi

"With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discord of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood..."

--Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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Looking back on the start of the journey that brought us to the Origin graduation gave me a better understanding and a deep appreciation for the work that Paul (Pablo) Reid and the many mentors and supporters of Origin are engaged in; training up leaders of tomorrow.

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I spent my latter teen years and early adulthood in South London. Although I started out fearless, in those days, more often than not, fear would grip me as I walked the streets. It became a regular occurrence encountering alcoholics and those who engaged in drug dealing and prostitution.


Later, I would weep to see the young boys making light of their education, aspiring to be nothing more than drug dealers or the next in line to be someone’s ‘baby’s daddy’. ​

Rising From The Ashes 

PARTS 1 - 3

Thank you brother Pablo and the many supporters of this great initiative, thank you for not giving up on the dream and to New Initiatives Youth and Community Association for bringing the vision to fruition.  To all who have helped to keep the dream alive, thank you for your self-less contribution to the next generation of leaders.  You took the time to care and as a result, many more fathers are standing up and being responsible for the training of their children. More young men are now aspiring to be a husband instead of someone's 'baby Daddy' and all the drama that goes with that title. More youth are opting to stay in school, taking their education seriously and pursuing a career rather than aspiring to be a drug dealer or part of a gang where violence is used to fight for justice.

All that was important to those young men was making quick ‘bucks’ by any means necessary. This way of life was so they could impress ladies with the type of cars they’d drive and the extravagant clothing and jewellery they would wear. That was what success looked like to them and they weren’t deterred by the high prison rates of their mates from drug related crimes or other criminal activities.


They lacked the necessary training to advance from childhood to adulthood in an emotionally, mentally or spiritually healthy way. Consequently, I would meet grown men who were mentally and emotionally immature—boys trapped in their adult bodies.

Although the program evolved as a ‘coming into manhood’ initiative it started off on a much wider outlook of caring for the needs of the youth in the community of which I was a recipient of such care. We were still in our youth with no concept of the vision that led to that Origin graduation. It was a celebration—a very proud moment for all concerned.

Only after starting my family and watching the process of bonding, disciplining, training/teaching and nurturing taking place with our son, that I really grasped the importance of the work of Origin (especially for young boys who grew up without the active involvement of a father in their lives). I saw the input of my husband in our son’s life and knew exactly why I struggled so much for the lack of a father in my life. 

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr. had a dream which he didn't live to see come to life but he shared that vision with others who were able to continue the process. Today we are privileged to be part of that dream. Keep the dream alive! Keep serving. Keep building up our young men. Your sacrificial giving today is so that our children can have a better future than we now have just like we are experiencing a much better way of life, than what our forefathers experienced in the past. You were chosen for such a time as this. A gift was invested in you and as you live out your purpose, the leaders of the next generation are being inspired to be all God has called them to be.

We give honour to God who planted the vision and we thank Him for those who had to sacrifice much to ensure the dream was birthed and the work sustained. Thank you to all who have come on board since the early days when it was simply an idea to those who are now coming on board ensuring the vision is transferred to the next generation. The generation you now serve may not fully understand the importance of the lessons you now try to pass on and some may not even appreciate what you are doing but I'm here to encourage you not to give up. They are the reason you started Origin and they are the reason you must continue to labour. The seed planted will bear fruit. It may not be in your timing but it will not be in vain.​

Many saw the need in our community and turned a blind eye.  Some could only see the symptoms and passed judgment. Many more saw the need and responded with condemnation. Nevertheless the vision was planted in one who believed that we all deserve an opportunity to reach our greatest potential. Others caught the vision and one became two and the multiplication process is still taking place a decade and a half later.

Today we have Origin standing in the gap for some of these young men who are either growing up without their fathers or with little support from their fathers. They’re helping young men, who are at risk of slipping through the net, recognise their true potential. Fathers who are struggling to stand strong are also seeking their advice. Origin is making an impact. They are empowering our future leaders. Thank you for answering the call to provide leadership to our generation of youth so they can be great leaders of tomorrow. My desire is to see the dream continue to grow. The seeds you continue to plant will also continue to bear fruit. We Salute you Origin! Let the circle remain unbroken!

Too many children are craving the love of their fathers because those men had no one who cared enough to invest in them. Those same individuals then get married, having no idea what it takes to be a husband who leads his family. And therefore, the destructive cycle continues and the divorce rates continue to increase. More children are left in the care system or to others who have not been given the responsibility to train them up and so they slip through the net or struggle to find their way through life.

An effective leader doesn’t just tell others what to do or simply show them what to do—He or she works alongside those under their leadership as well as allow them to grow—calling out the leader in them. An effective leader sees the leader in others and empowers—helping them to recognise and utilise their leadership gifts. Such a leader labours, not just for his/her personal gain, but for the greater good of the people he/she leads.


An effective leader inspires. This form of leadership is exactly what our homes and communities need to survive. We need more leaders who aren’t just there for power and fame but to pass on the knowledge and inspire another generation of leaders while encouraging and motivating along the way. 


Where there is order and clarity there is beauty to behold. I have witnessed order restored to the lives of some next generation leaders. The future looks a lot brighter with such leadership in the making. Unfortunately, many of us are allowing the media to control the way we think and as a result we fail to see the beauty before us. We constantly direct our focus on the darkness and bypass the light that is evident.

Many of our young men are behind bars today because they didn't have a mentor in their lives. Origin brought hope and today more of our young men are in employment because they took the time to care. Many of our mentors and mentees are recognising their true potential because a group of men cared enough to empower them. Those young men found leaders who told them they had greatness inside and showed them how to embrace the gift within them, giving them options and showed them a better way. ​

LEARNING ABOUT EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP

THE WORK OF ‘ORIGIN’

Origin, thank you for your faithfulness and love towards our future leaders. Truly, “It takes a village to raise a child,” as the late Ruth Bell-Graham says. I am proud of the achievements of Origin so far and appreciative of all they have done for the men in the community. I am blessed to have been a witness to the incredible work you continue to do in the lives of our youth and the blessings you impart on all concerned. Thank you for standing in the gap and showing the youth of this generation what it means to be part of a family and training them up to be great leaders of tomorrow. You have imparted knowledge and wisdom to the young men who have been brought to you and made a difference to their world. You've brought hope to areas of hopelessness and inspired a generation of leaders. The village cannot thank you enough.