Winning Essay by Justin E. from Illinois attending Morehouse College
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Imagine an African American leader who is loving, caring, and hardworking. These are the characteristics that I admire in Mr. Clayton Muhammad the Director of Communications for the city of Aurora, Illinois. Mr. Muhammad founded a youth organization in 2002, called Boys II Men. The program helps urban city youth become leaders, and strong men in their community. His organization, Boys II Men, has positively contributed to society by graduating over 250 young men who are either attending colleges throughout the country or have graduated college and are now productive citizens in their own communities.

The organization that Mr. Muhammad has created has allow young men to create a community of brotherhood that brings us together and challenges our way of thinking as we discuss topics of our world such as social injustice, college preparation, and perform community service projects. I admire Mr. Clayton Muhammad because of his desire for all students, just like me, to excel in education and in our community. He truly loves all of us at Boys II Men. He has a passion for doing great things, and he sets the standard on how African American males should conduct ourselves. When I reflect on the type of leader he is, it makes me stand in awe of what I can do to be a leader like him as well.

Mr. Muhammad’s hard work and service throughout the community inspires the youth to be greater than what they see in the media. Mr. Muhammad has had a huge impact on my life by encouraging me to take on leadership positions within our youth group, school and at church. By following his example, it has given me the courage to chase my dream of becoming a sports journalist. Mr. Muhammad gave me an opportunity to intern for a day at an event at the local outlet mall where I got the chance to shadow the interviews of celebrities Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato. This experience was life changing and motivated me to get more serious about my career in journalism. Shortly after that experience, I got the courage to talk to the Athletics Director at my high school to ask if I could be a volunteer sports announcer at our local sports events. I want to inspire and encourage those of color that anything is possible through hard work and dedication. My goal is to be able to open doors and expand platforms for the next generation of broadcast students.

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