CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A first of its kind award has come to Charlotte. The Made Man Foundation is honoring several African American men who are good role models to show young African American boys they can achieve success no matter their situation. Wells Fargo is one of the sponsors of this award and will soon offer a mentoring program for young boys to keep track of their success.
"It's important for us to be supportive of the things in the community," Wells Fargo Representative Roderick Banks said. "That make a difference to where our employees work and live and where we do business on a daily basis."
Thursday some of the honorees spent time with students at Stewart Creek High School. They told them education will help them become great and to take advantage of the time they have to develop a plan. The Honorees believe seeing good black male role models face to face will make a difference.
"It wasn't until after college that I ever saw a black doctor or a black lawyer," Banks said. "So being able to expose kids to these things at a young age - to know that everything is a possibility helps."
This Made Man award has been given out in Philadelphia and will be handed out in Washington, DC. The African American men of Charlotte say it doesn't help motivate young African American boys to be great if they are constantly surrounded by negative images of a Black Man.
"You don't see the person with his family," The Made Man Honoree Steve Clincy said. "With his kids or anything, but you see a mugshot. The first thing you see is a mugshot of a person of color."
Clincy is from Mississippi. He says because of his environment he thought he wouldn't live past 25 years old. He was exposed to positive experiences that helped turn his life around. He was happy when he turned 26.
"I made it," Clincy said. "I made it out and so I can show others that you can get out - So drugs are not the way - gangs are not the way - it's education. I truly think education is the number one factor that get us out of our current state."
Clincy went on to graduate from Morehouse College with a degree in Accounting. Now he wants to share his story with young African American young men and let them know there are some positive Black men who are leaders in the community. The honorees believe this award will set up a new generation of Black male who will one day become fathers, husbands and leaders.
"Just someone taking an interest in these young men," Clincy said. "Showing them that we are here to help - just tell us what you need - what resources you may need. Let us show you - let us help."
The awards were handed out Thursday at the Piper Glen Country Club.