Open Court All-Star Male Youth Summit making a difference

Former NBA players empower youth

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - NBA All Star 2019 in Charlotte wasn’t only about basketball but also about helping to build lives of some young black males. Organizer Dr. Chance Lewis says there wasn’t an event specifically geared toward black male students during the All Star weekend. He helped create the Open Court All-Star Male Youth Summit. The event consisted of bringing about 200 young males together and having them hear from other black males about their journey to success.

“The return on investment is for the young man to say when he goes back to school - Hey I’ve seen new possibilities of what I can do with my life,” Event Organizer Dr. Chance Lewis said. “Now that I have gone to this event - saw people who are involved in professional sports to people who are doctors and lawyers.”

Also sharing knowledge with the students were fathers of NBA players. They thought this was a good event to be part of. NBA player Chris Paul's father Charles Paul has an organization that helps the youth. He thinks giving back will make a difference.

"We can't forget about these young boys trying to grow up to be young men," NBA Player father Charles Paul said. "So the examples they are seeing today - Oh man, it's highlighted everyday - so we are trying to highlight some good stuff in our lives, and let them know they're going to one day have to make some choices."

The event had the young males look at a video that stressed education and not to get into trouble. The young males also heard from professionals about communication and networking skills. The young males were given tips on how to network and they had to put what they learned to the test. They had to approach the professionals and professional athletes and strike up a conversation with them.

"For African American males this is empowering ," Lewis said. "Because often times when you see somebody who looks like you, taking time out of their schedule, just to give back to you and to make a difference in your life - I think that will be the life-changing part for them."

Students did leave impressed and ready to make a difference. Myles Jones is a high school senior at South Mecklenburg High School. He is glad he came to the summit.

"It just shows us that we can do anything," CMS Student Myles Jones said. "And it shows us that someone has already stepped in the field and we can just follow their path."

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