Week 6

Legacy Transforming Summer Program

By Lawrence FunderburkeJuly 31, 20235 Minutes

Week Six was all about field trips. We visited Continental Office first, a Central Ohio company specializing in ergonomic furnishings, custom flooring options, interior construction solutions, and brand management of office spaces. Inviting work places can lead to greater productivity, stellar employee morale, and higher overall job satisfaction by associates, among other noticeable benefits. Kim Bodrick, Nicole Lanier, and Gina Frazier provided the young men with a tour and an unforgettable, two-hour experience. This trio taught our group how to assess areas of strength, find common ground in generating ideas, collaborate individually and corporately as a unified team, resolve conflict and diffuse personality clashes, stay within budget (based on design parameters outlined by the hypothetical client), and leverage their creative skillsets. The four teams had five minutes to present their design, with the winning team receiving an AMC movie card for each member. As the video recap highlights, healthy competition brings out the best in our young men. After starting off slow, what a blessing it was to watch them embrace such a challenging opportunity with so many moving parts.

Our second field trip was to Midwest Photo, which is the largest photo, video, audio, and printing specialty store in Central Ohio. And if you think (like I did) that photography has been on a sharp decline as smartphone cameras have exploded over the last decade, you would be mistaken. This company has been thriving with consistent business from Fortune 500 firms to midsize organizations to freelance entrepreneurs. Taylor Cubbie, Steph Parker, and Jim Andracki were our gracious hosts. No pun intended, but our young men lit up and cut up in front of the camera. They expressed a wide range of emotions while reflecting on their individual photo shoots. They were joking, laughing, and at times, even being serious. Taylor Cubbie presented each young man with a photo shoot media card. He also showed them how to monetize their personal brand on social media with a shoestring budget. Cubbie even allowed one of the participants to take pictures with his $3,000 camera! Steph Parker showed the group how to operate video equipment for podcast recording. I initiated a discussion on the state of affairs of our inner-city males. We had a lively and candid conversation on The Kia Boys. The dialogue continued as this controversial topic was broached: Why do you feel the older generation in the black community is so out of touch with your age demographic? In decades past, elders were granted respect without giving it. That outdated model won’t work today; respect is now a two-way street. By and large, most Baby Boomers (and even Gen Xers) are terrified of and simply can’t relate to inner-city youth. They’d rather fight over behavior changes instead of fix misguided mindsets. To win the black culture war, we must be willing to lose a few timely battles along the way. Sagging pants, foul language, and bad grammar are outward signs of inward pain signals. Bind the wound to stop the hemorrhaging.

We ended the day at God’s Hygiene, which provides personal care products to economically challenged families in the Linden area. Jim Andracki, a photography legend at Midwest Photo and committed philanthropist alongside his wife Brenda, helped us with this field trip. Our visit to God’s Hygiene involved three components. First, underprivileged (and privileged) young people need to focus on how they will make our world a better place. Why wait until adulthood before the charitable lightbulb turns on? Time and talents are just as important as treasures in the stewardship equation. Second, I want them to understand that “free” comes with it’s share of costs. Benevolence ministries, summer camps, and skill-trade programs are expensive. As receivers, this fact often gets lost in translation. Third, giving back can boost oxytocin levels. This biochemical superstar combats stress, enhances the immune system, and improves mood. By thinking about the progress of others, they inevitably help themselves in the process. Stay tuned for Week Seven, which will be full of surprises!