These Young Men are Too FLYE to Follow

These Young Men are Too FLYE to Follow

first_imgMembers of the Future Leaders and Young Entrepreneurs organization at Roosevelt High School in Prince George’s County, Md. (Photo Courtesy of FLYE Inc.)High school athleticism is a yearlong experience. During game season, student athletes practice vigorously for competition after school and on weekends. During summer months, players train and condition for next season. A time consuming commitment, sports becomes life.“When you initially meet these kids, 90 percent of them all have aspirations of going to the NFL, however studies show that 0.08 percent of high school athletes actually make it,” Sam Sesay, cofounder of Future Leaders and Young Entrepreneurs (FLYE) Inc. told the AFRO.FLYE works with the Raiders Varsity Football Team at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The organization was conceived in September 2013 by Sesay and Cortni Grange, both Roosevelt alumni and former athletes who are passionate about youth development. The duo created the organization to show minority males alternative avenues to success outside of professions popularized by cultural norms.“We want to teach them life outside of football and to create life skills that are going to help them for the rest of their lives,” says Sesay, who received his master’s degree in entrepreneurship from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and B.S. from George Mason University on a full track scholarship.Each week, participants engage in interactive sessions led by former athletes who share experiences transitioning from sports to careers in education, medicine, law, government, business and more.Additionally, programming is segmented to focus on a range of topics. The FLYE Gentleman program teaches participants how to treat women respectfully and how to make better decisions; Too FLYE to Follow teaches participants the importance of leadership and FLYE Entrepreneurship teaches core business skills culminating in a pitch competition.Participants also gain access to significant perks. In April 2015, they were invited to attend a White House roundtable discussion with representatives from A&E Television, the Washington Wizards, and the Washington Nationals where adult mentors discussed leadership, decision-making, the importance of school and goal-setting, among other topics. In May 2015, Washington Wizards All-Star Guard John Wall and designer clothing company Sean John outfitted four of FLYE seniors with tuxedos for prom.In the wake an outcry in the Black community for respect of Black bodies, many young Black males are left in the dark for guidance on how to conduct and value themselves. “There needs to be positive reinforcement shown to them that you can make it despite all the bad things that are happening,” says Sesay. “There are successful black men who are doing great things in this world and [youth] can pattern themselves after these guys and not really have to pay attention to what the news is showing.”Moving forward, Sesay hopes the organization can provide a light for more young men throughout the D.C. metro region. “There are just so many more kids who can experience the different things that the guys at Eleanor Roosevelt are experiencing,” he says.For more information on FLYE visit www.flye.org.last_img

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