Boys to Men Academy set to create great male leaders of the future

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)- Helping boys navigate the journey to manhood. Eddie Myles is a longtime member of the Starkville chapter of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity and has mentored many young men during his membership. He says he began to notice a lack of professional and interview skills among young men he interacted with and that’s what sparked the Boys to Men Life Skills Academy.

“We need to make sure our kids know how to present themselves when they do come into interviews and stuff like that,” says Myles.

Co-organizer Willie Daniels says becoming a man starts with the ability to communicate with the world around you to eliminate cultural biases. He looks forward to the challenge of passing along his wisdom, “I think because where a person comes from, the local colloquialisms of where they come from kind of ours them in that space where ‘I’m just going to bring it from where I come from. One of the significant inputs that oral communication provides is it shares one person with another and I think linking one another -having a common ground- will make it possible to communicate not only in business but in cultural relationships.”

Almost a decade after its launch, the academy covers many topics such as community safety.

“The gun problems,” says Myles. “If you see something say something. Don’t be afraid. Your name will not be given out. If your schoolmates have a weapon on them, how do you communicate with a teacher without actually being called a snitch.”

Myles says more sensitive topics like sexual assault will be discussed as well, “It’s very important because some of the youth who are experiencing sexual assault, don’t have an outlet. They keep it bottled in and disturbs their life in the future. So if my uncle is making advances toward me, how do I tell mama? How do I tell his brother? My dad. How do I communicate without me being blamed?”

And lighter topics, such as financial responsibility are on the agenda.

“To be able to have these kids start thinking about, ‘how can I become an entrepreneur?’ How to put money away. If I’m mowing yards, how much money do I want to keep for myself just for maintenance on my mowers? The gas prices, how do you manage your money to make sure you have enough gas to go in your mower,” says Myles.

Myles and Daniels hope the program can spark more positive conversations no matter the topic.

“I pray and hope that what is going to come out of this particular Boys to Men Life Skill Academy is that we have more love than hate,” says Myles.

The event will take place June 18th at the Shira Fieldhouse on the Mississippi State campus from 10 am to 2 pm.

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