My first association with EECM began when my mother started working for the organization through the AmeriCorps program. At the time, I was just an innocent and carefree three-year-old who was always happy and smiling. Of course, at that age I did not know what shape my future was going to take or what difficult challenges I would face.
Growing up, I never had my biological father in my life.
I have only seen him a handful of times over my 23 years. Sadly, this is a common experience among my African-American male peers. However, with the support of EECM and the male mentors I had there, I was able to stay away from living a dangerous life and initiate a positive path for myself. I am proud and privileged to call these mentors father figures.
Rev. Leonard has been teaching me valuable lessons in so many aspects of my life.
One of those men that I look up to through this very day is Rev. Darnell Leonard, EECM’s Program Director for Children and Youth Services. Since I first came to know him as a young child, he has been teaching me valuable lessons on not only what it means to be a man of God, but also how to become a leader and to grow in so many aspects of my life.
I learned so much through EECM youth groups. Since 1999, I have been a part of the Camp as both a camper and counselor. Being a camper was a blessing because I was able to learn how to grow in life despite my challenging personal circumstances. As a Camp counselor, I led and taught a younger generation to be their very best, no matter their own situations.
EECM helped me create a positive path for myself.
I believe that one of the reasons I am the man I am today is because of my bond with EECM and Rev. Leonard — blessings I will always remember and cherish for a lifetime.
Brandin A. Adams