LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Central High School students learned about the power of their voice, decisions and history during a workshop led by men who were once in their shoes.
A former Central High School student came back to his former hallways to show the young men coming up behind him that the tools they learn from the annual Success Through Service workshop and each other, can accelerate them into their dreams.
The Men of Quality mentorship program at Central High School brings together male students of color and role models. Elliot Kelly is a former Central alumni and current University of Louisville economics major. He said the Men of Quality was his first exposure to positive male role models and he wanted to come back and be that face for others.
“If I don’t see myself in you, I’m not going to respect you,” Kelly said. “Essentially that’s the mentality in a lot of young people.”
Saturday, the Men of Quality discussed peer pressure, careers and black history at the workshop.
“Teach people where we come from because if you know your history, if you know your yesterday, you know your today,” Kelly said. “Some things you can’t leave in other people’s hand and you have to take a hold of yourself.”
Kelly took it in his own hands with veterans, business professionals and leaders who are an aged reflection of the young men.
“It’s not our job to teach people what to think,” said Kelly. “It’s just our job to get them to think.”
“There’s no judgement in it,” 15-year-old Daniel Bellamy said. “You can speak openly with people just like you.”
Bellamy wants to be a dental hygienist after college. He said hearing how the men at the front of the classrooms got through their struggles in Louisville showed him how he can follow their path and block out distractions.
“Seeing them accomplish what they wanted to accomplish, it makes me feel like I can do the same or I can do better,” Bellamy said.
“A lot of people just live on the surface level and we’re trying to get young men to dive deep,” Kelly said.
They learned they don’t need every aspect of life figured out, just a positive direction.
The Men of Quality organization was started by the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity more than 20 years ago.