Happy 4th Of July,
As I take a moment to reflect on how fortunate I am to be an educated, focused, liberated, African American young man, I can truly say that I am blessed. The opportunities and lessons that I have experienced in my sixteen years of life have been awesome and life-changing. I know that God has His "hands" on me and is ordering my steps daily for my story and for His glory.
I am tremendously thankful for each of you men and for your mentoring of me during my internship with Operation Hope. You have been like surrogate fathers for me as I have observed your leadership, demeanor, intellect, and character that has given me a tangible and clear picture of manhood. I am most appreciative to know that there are powerful, African American men who really exist that I have talked with, shook hands with and are willing to give of themselves to teach younger males how to become responsible men. I appreciate each of you for giving me hope that one day I will be a leader who will be concerned with the lives of those who the world may have forgotten about, counted out, put into a box or have said, "That they will never be nothing, have nothing, or amount to nothing."
I thank you Mr. John, Mr. Jay and Mr. Sirjames, for being real men, real leaders and my mentors. You are truly the essence of manhood and my manifested HOPE for a promising tomorrow.
God Bless You Gentlemen and God Bless America,
Mr. Hakeem Clark, Operation HOPE Intern, HOPE Atlanta office
John Hope Bryant bonus statement --- in this photo the young man is wearing one of the dress shirts that I out-grew in time, and passed on to him. And in time, after he wears them with pride and purpose, Hakeem will also pass it and them along to another young man looking to stand up tall in and with hope!