BY JURRY TAALIB-DEEN
Journal Staff Writer
Drieyon McBride, 21, and his brother Marcus, 16, walked into the eighth Annual Boys 2 Men Conference, held in the Student Union Auditorium of the University of Toledo, on Saturday, September 17, alone. The conference theme, “Our sons, our responsibility”, is geared toward mentoring, and supporting males ages six to 18.
The McBrides didn’t arrive with a mentoring group, nor did they attend the event with a school. Their motivation was the fact the conference inspires, and motivates them.
The brothers attended the conference the past three or four years, quietly sitting at a table in the back of the auditorium listening to each speaker.
Drieyon, the eldest brother, doesn’t consider himself a youth, as he explains to The Toledo Journal why he likes coming to the conference every year.
“I just love what they’re doing for the youth,” he said. “I’m a music producer and I want to convey the positivity of what goes on here in my music,” Drieyon said.
“I just like coming here,” Marcus said. “The event is so supportive. It really helps me when I’m feeling down,” he said.
What Drieyon, and Marcus, as well as the other participants were able to be involved in were, hearing directional talks from leaders within the community including, Pastor Chris McBryer, who served as the Master of Ceremony, Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson, Rev. Dr. Michael Carr, Willie Ward, Deputy Chief, Benjamin Tucker, and many others.
Founded by Rev. Dr. Janice Carson-Hearn in 2009, she said there’s a need for fathers, or father figures to be active in the lives of boys.
“Many of the boys don’t have a significant father figure present in the home, nor do they get to talk to a man about his problems or dreams on a regular basis. So we founded this conference in hopes of alleviating those issues,” she said.
Tanya Murphy, a teacher at Martin Luther King Academy for Boys, chaperoned 18 students from the school, including her own.
“I knew this would be a good conference, that’s why I volunteered to bring the boys from the school, as well as my own children,” she said.
Although geared specifically toward male children, who lack a significant father figure in the home, a significant amount of girls, as well as mothers present, including Deanna Sutton.
“This is beautiful,” she said. “I’m so glad I brought my four children here,” Ms. Sutton said.
Shirley Hughes was encouraged to attend by her granddaughter, Kailani Hughes.
“I thought it would be nice if me, and my grandmother came,” said Kailani.
Besides being served breakfast upon their arrival, attendees were treated to lunch, and were able to win prizes such as an Apple I-Pad.