When I was growing up in West Baltimore, where opportunities to excel in life are scarce, I was fortunate to have a mentor that was able to see my potential. I didn’t necessarily see it within myself. My mentor’s dedication and support propelled me to further my education, serve 11 years in the Navy, and eventually become a Captain at Southwest Airlines in 2005. I fully understand the tremendous impact mentoring and community involvement has in a young person’s life. Therefore, I’m dedicated to giving back and helping young students find their path through organizations like Quiet Storm.
Quiet Storm Foundation provides academic, leadership, and health and wellness programs to underserved youth in the City of Las Vegas. The various programs are tailored to meet the needs of the community and provide the extra assistance that parents may not be able to provide themselves. From basketball camp to coding class to salary negotiation workshops, the Quiet Storm Foundation really tries its hardest to make a positive impact on these students and the community.
During the month of February, Quiet Storm Foundation looks forward to hosting an Annual Black History Month Oratorical Competition. The competition helps students develop skills in critical thinking, writing, and public speaking.
Every year, six Las Vegas middle schools participate in the competition. First, students write an essay about a specific topic and are required to recite it in front of their classmates and teachers. Next, the top finalists from each school recite their essays in front of a panel of judges made up of community volunteers. One grand prize winner is chosen from each school.
This year, the students tackled what cultural diversity means to them, why it’s important, and how they will spread it in their community.
The grand prize winners from each school will fly to Washington, D.C. on Southwest and enjoy three days of exploring and learning in our nation’s capital.
Southwest Airlines is Taking an Integral Part in These Student’s Lives
The majority of students we work with have never traveled outside of Las Vegas or flown on an airplane. A trip to the nation’s capital is a big deal to them. With the help of Southwest Airlines providing the travel, the six winners and their chaperones will make the trip to Washington, D.C.
Students will have the opportunity to meet Steven Horsford, U.S. Representative for Nevada’s fourth Congressional district. The Foundation has also partnered with Howard University to organize a scavenger hunt and tour of the campus for the kids in hopes to inspire the students to attend college and plan for their future. The trip to D.C. will be a tangible life lesson for each student. It will show them hard work and leadership can take them anywhere—there are no limits if you persevere.
In addition to the trip to our nation’s capital, the students will present their essays on a local Las Vegas radio show, make a television guest appearance on an NBC affiliate in Las Vegas, and receive a special proclamation from the mayor at city hall. The Palazzo Casino has also planned a community lunch where the kids will be honored in front of business and community leaders.
The students we work with at Quiet Storm Foundation have a genuine desire to succeed, learn, and have fun. Their hopes and dreams energize me to work hard in order to help them prepare for a successful future. My goal is to positively impact our youth and help them find their path. I want to see each one reach their full potential. I am thankful to Southwest Airlines for helping me do just that!