A panel of seven young men with ties to the Talladega area, including Snap Fitness physical trainer and former NFL linebacker Carter Adams; Alpha Industrial Power applications engineer Frederick Lee Braddock, Jr.; Midfield Police Department Sergeant Timothy Yearwood Jr.; Dortch Law Offices clerk Clarence Dortch IV; Piedmont Technical College Director of Institutional Advancement Seddrick Hill; St. John CME Church Pastor Christopher Parham; and Terry’s Metropolitan Mortuary employee Cuvier Terry Jr. will preside over the event.
“We wanted to have seven young men who are products or byproducts of the city of Talladega because they’ve achieved high educational standards in their fields, they’re working and they are living their lives,” event facilitator Floretta James Dortch said. “We wanted to have the young men in this community come in to see these men because they are role models.”
The event is free and open to the public, while the overall message of the summit is intended to target young men ages 12-20.
“We chose that age group because we’re going to be talking about preparedness for college,” Dortch said. “We have one admissions officer who will be here to share some things (about the admissions process) because now you not only have to have the grades, which are very important to attend college. Colleges are also looking for extracurricular activities such as community service or service learning. They want to know if you’ve volunteered with the Red Cross, Salvation Army or (some other community organization). That coupled with GPA is one of the factors they’re looking for in accepting students. We want students to start looking at that now, start participating in some community efforts, make their lives worthwhile in that regard and study (to) make good grades.”
Following the opening continental breakfast, the panelists will lead a four-hour discussion and question-and-answer session where each individual panelist receives an opportunity to explain to the attendees how they achieved their current level of success.
“We want those young people who have a burning question,” Dortch said. “(One might ask),‘How do I become an engineer?’ They may not necessarily know the math or skills involved, but then the engineer can tell them what all is needed so then they can start (thinking) ‘Well, I need to get on that college prep track in high school.’ Then they can start planning now. We’ve planted the seed. That’s what we want to do.”
Dortch noted there’s been a strong outpouring of support for the event.
“We’ve received support from Mt. Canaan Missionary Baptist Church, Kelly Springs Baptist Church, Regan Chapel CME Church and Hill Chapel CME Church,” Dortch said. “We’ve gotten commitment and support from three fraternities — Kappa Alpha Psi, Alpha Phi Alpha and Omega Psi Phi. We have another church called New Hope who’s going to bring students out to participate. Kelly Springs also will be bringing its youth to the summit. We’ve got a lot of interest and the church at-large are committed. We expect to have a good turnout for this program.”
The overall tone of the summit fits congruently with its theme, “Stand Up and Be Counted,” which comes from Joshua 8:3, “And Joshua chose 30,000 mighty men of valor and sent them out by night.”
The summit also includes workshops addressing leadership of African American men conducted by attorney Clarence Dortch III; Fairfield police officer Timothy Yearwood; probation officer James Smoot; and Jacobs Chapel Pastor Frederick Braddock Sr. The summit concludes with a lunch held at 1 p.m.
“I think it’s very important to reach out to these young men,” Braddock said. “We’re entitling this the young men’s summit because we’re trying to strengthen our community. The only way we can strengthen our communities is if we have young boys to men coming up who are strong in their faith and we can teach them the morals and values that are needed to develop a strong community. We encourage them to be involved with the church and have a faith life.”
Contact Shane Dunaway at email@example.com