Be R.E.A.L.! Responsibility, Education, Authenticity, and Leadership was the focus of this year’s Educational Opportunity Association’s (EOA) 3rd Annual Men of Excellence Conference. Christian P., Zee O., Kyle Jayden S., Evans M., and Kyle B. were the five UB young men who were chosen to participate based on their program attendance, grades, and written essay.
Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, welcomed over 200 young men to its beautiful campus to discuss social, economic, and justice issues facing young men of color. “It was cool to hear other people’s honesty about how they have grown up and how life has been treating them,” said Christian.
The workshops gave the students the opportunity to dive deeper into being R.E.A.L. and sharing their thoughts of overcoming obstacles, remaining true to self, taking ownership of actions, and treating all people the way they want to be treated. UB participant Kyle B. stated, “It was interesting to hear other perspectives and to learn new things.”
The keynote speakers, while very successful now, shared with the attendees that their backgrounds of being first-generation college students, and coming from poor neighborhoods and communities are no different than what the conference attendees are experiencing, and encouraged them to press on to a successful, fulfilling future.
On the last day of the event each participant signed an Action Plan Commitment to continue to be exceptional, make no excuses, respect themselves and others, live and promote a nonviolent lifestyle, never give up, and to be R.E.A.L.!