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Eastlake Male Youth Initiative Kicks Off Another Year of Leadership

Atlanta, GA, October 10, 2020 — Eastlake Male Youth Initiative (EMYI) kicked off its 2020-2021 program year with 20 students as the program enters its second year. The students—representing elementary, middle and high schools from Atlanta and DeKalb County schools, as well as two schools outside of Georgia—attended the orientation and welcome session on Saturday, October 10, 2020 via the Zoom video conferencing platform.

The session included opening remarks by EMYI Program Director Dr. Kenneth G. Torrence and Dr. William E. Flippin, Sr., Senior Pastor of The Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church. “We welcome you and thank you for again placing your trust and faith in this program and its mission to create leaders and raise the trajectory of achievement among the young, black males in our community,” said Dr. Torrence.

Students were introduced to the EMYI program staff, student ambassadors and mentors as part of the session. Over the course of the next seven months, students will learn will interact with local, civic and community leaders through keynote speeches, presentations and mentor meetings. Students will also gain and develop skills needed to be effective leaders, focusing on communicating effectively, respecting self and others, setting goals, team building, resolving conflict, and cultural awareness.

The highlight of the session was an inspirational message from Dr. Robert M. Franklin, President Emeritus of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Franklin told students, “I really want you to appreciate and cherish what you have—don’t take it for granted. There are people who wish they have your experience and your opportunity [in Eastlake Male Youth Initiative].”

After challenging students on the five “wells”—be well read, be well spoken, be well traveled, be well dressed, be well balanced—Dr. Franklin allowed participants to ask questions. Students, ambassadors, mentors and EMYI program staff engaged Dr. Franklin in an informative discussion that allowed them to better understand his life and contributions to the community. Please click here to view Dr. Franklin's speech in its entirety.

Also on hand to help kick-off this year’s theme—Another Year of Progress and Promise—Music From the Heart, led by Justin Clay and James Rhodes, performed live during the virtual broadcast.

Said second year EMYI student, Damon “Kyle” Cooper, “The program is really amazing. It helped me keep on track and stay out of trouble. It’s a very good program.”

Next up for EMYI is the leadership retreat on Saturday, November 14, 2020. The students will be learning and experiencing the importance of community service.

About Eastlake Male Youth Initiative

Eastlake Male Youth Initiative is a joint partnership between The Greater Piney Grove Community Development, Inc. ( and The Truth Teller Inc. ( The mission of EMYI is to inspire, empower and challenge African American male youth through a series of workshops, positive reinforcement and one-on-one mentoring. We seek to raise the trajectory of achievement for African American boys using the power of inspiration and imagination. To learn more or get involved with EMYI, please contact Dr. Kenneth G. Torrence at


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