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Eastlake Male Youth Initiative Honors Students From Its Class of 2021

Updated: Aug 18, 2021

Atlanta, GA, May 8, 2021 — “Collect fathers: have men around you who have achieved. It is important.” That’s what Dr. John H. Stanfield, former Ethiopia U.S. Ambassador Distinguished Scholar, University of Mauritius Senior Chair of African Studies SSR, world-renowned scholar, and Distinguished Professor, told students of the Eastlake Male Youth Initiative (EMYI) at the second annual Commencement and Awards Ceremony at The Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church.

From his home in Mauritius (Africa), Dr. Stanfield addressed the socially-distanced assembly of students, parents and guests live via Zoom. “You have the opportunity to be influenced by ‘fathers’ [mentors] who set the proper example. This is why programs like Eastlake Male Youth Initiative are critically important,” Dr. Stanfield said.

The program also included special remarks by Mr. Derrick Holmes, the CEO of Benjamin Banneker Watches and Clocks in Denver, Colorado. Mr. Holmes talked to students about the importance of having written goals. “Goals are a roadmap to your success. There is something about physically writing that translates all the way through you to the universe and makes things happen,” Mr. Holmes said.

Following Dr. Stanfield’s speech, the 12 students present received their certificate of completion from Dr. Torrence. Dr. Torrence also recognized students, mentors and staff for the following:

Seven students were recipients of a $100 college savings gift card. These students were honored for participating in six or more leadership sessions.

Two students received Perfect Attendance medals: Brock Rogers, Trintin Roberts. These students attended and participated in all seven (7) leadership and program activities during the program year.

The first annual Mentee Award was given to Brock Rogers and Nyan Gainey. These students were recognized for their outstanding participation, commitment and contributions in the mentorship program. Brock’s mentor, Colonel Jesse L. Dansby, Jr. (retired), received the Distinguished Service Award for his commitment and contributions as a mentor.

The EMYI Award for Excellence was awarded to Damon Cooper and Donald Holt, III. These students were recognized for routinely demonstrating the values of EMYI in their daily life.

The A.P. Torrence Outstanding Achievement Award was given to Trinitin Roberts. The Award recognizes exemplary contributions by the recipient to the success of fellow students and the program as a whole. The Award is named for Dr. Andrew P. Torrence, Dr. Torrence’s father, and former president of Tennessee State University (1968-1975) and provost of Tuskegee University (1975-1980).

The EMYI Leadership Award was given to Hunnter Goins and Frank D. Lawrence, III. The award was given to the student and staff member who exhibit exemplary leadership qualities, namely, consistency, dedication, dependability, discipline, and leadership capacity. The recipients each received a watch from the Benjamin Banneker Watches and Clocks Company in Denver, Colorado.

Program Director Dr. Kenneth G. Torrence acknowledged the perseverance and commitment demonstrated by students, parents, mentors, ambassadors, and staff to continue the work of the program during the pandemic. “When businesses, churches and schools shutdown in March 2020, we had a decision to make,” said Dr. Torrence. “Through Zoom technology, we were able to continue the excellent work of the Eastlake Male Youth Initiative in preparing our students for success. Now that we are turning the corner [of the pandemic], we must do more to educate and empower our young men.”

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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