Busta’s Person of the Week: Hear Our Youth Summit was a serious reality check

Busta's Person of the Week: Hear Our Youth Summit was a serious reality check The post Busta’s Person of the Week: Hear Our Youth Summit was a serious reality check appeared first on WS Chronicle.

Busta’s Person of the Week: Hear Our Youth Summit was a serious reality check

By Busta Brown

This week I was the MC and speaker for Hear Our Youth, youth summit in High Point. The theme was “Reality Check!” And that’s exactly what it was. 

The summit is the vision of Mr. Jerry Mingo of High Point. “He always had a passion to help the youth in the community and he would host a youth summit every year,” said Oveter McLean. She’s the founder and CEO for the organization, Not on the Curb. 

“He would make sure the youth had teachers in the community and everybody out to help the youth. So, this was dear to his heart. It was a passion that he loved doing every year to help the youth in the community shut down some of the violence during the summer and spring break, when they were out of school. 

“Mr. Mingo has dementia, so me, Mrs. Greta Bush and Dr, Shanika McKiever had a previous conversation about hosting a youth summit in April, because we wanted to keep his legacy going. We’re going to record the summit so Mr. Mingo’s daughter can show it to him, so he’ll know we’re still carrying on his legacy,” shared McLean. 

As founder and CEO for Not on the Curb, their mission is to connect, engage, and provide resources to the youth that allows them to overcome challenges and be successful in life instead of resulting on the curb. 

The Hear Our Youth Summit was phenomenal! It took place this past Monday-Wednesday at Morehead Recreation Center in High Point. Melinda Aguilera was one of the guest speakers. Her message was so real and raw, the youth never took their eyes off her. Melinda was very much in command of their attention; it was so quiet you could hear cotton drop on the floor. She noticed one young man with an ankle monitor and kept it real and raw with him and his friends. “That piece of jewelry on your ankle is not a good look. But you can turn it around and become someone great. And those friends you’re sitting with now can’t help you. It’s up to you to make better choices. But it starts now! “

The New York native went on to share how she went from jail to foster home after foster home, suffered from mental and physical abuse, and teen pregnancy. She now has three college degrees, is a successful entrepreneur, world renowned motivational speaker, author and podcast host out of Boston. “There’s nothing you can’t do if you choose to win,” she shared. 

Youth leader and entrepreneur Jeremiah Jett gave the keynote address. His message was right on time and on point. “I think the theme is very important – Reality check! A lot of adults try to force a reality check on us and they don’t understand a lot of our struggles as youths. So, I’m here to empower my peers to do a reality check for themselves. They know themselves better than anybody else. You know the wrongs and you know the rights, so when is enough enough?”

Tawanda Stewart was one of the volunteers for the summit, “This summit is all about the kids because they’re our future. So, we teach them how to prepare and get jobs, provide tutoring to make sure they are prepared to graduate. They don’t have to do the bad things to get to the good part. I know if you keep kids busy, they won’t get into the wrong things.”

Another volunteer, Jina Jacobs, shared, “Adults must unify to show our children more encouragement and support so that they also unify together for the betterment of our community.”

I attended all the different sessions and the theme – Realty Check! – was present in each room. They spoke about the importance of learning how to farm and grow your own fruits and vegetables, fill out a job application, the power of being resilient, how to build a strong, clear career path and strong foundation for your life and legacy. 

One youth attendee shared, “If you don’t build a strong foundation, everything you worked hard for could fall apart. But if you’re resilient, you can always rebuild.” Another attendee added, “And if you learn from your mistakes, you can build an even stronger foundation.”

Oveter McLean was clearly the foundation for the Hear Our Youth Summit. She kept everything in order and going strong. I finally caught back up with Oveter to finish our conversation. Her testimony is one of the reasons she has a deep passion to keep our youths safe, educated, fed, clothed and sheltered. “I grew up with both my mom and dad drinking. They were alcoholics. We had to sit in the car while they were in liquor houses. We were outside hungry. We had baloney lunch meat and pizza sandwiches, while we sat in the hot car during the summer and freezing during winter. Sometimes they would take my siblings and I home to stay by ourselves until they came home. So, this summit and what I do is near and dear to my heart,” shared McLean, while struggling to hold back her tears. She’s one of the toughest, strongest, and most straightforward people I’ve met. Yet her heart is big, soft, and warm. When the kids need a hug, smile, and a sweet encouraging word of inspiration, they go to “Ms. Veter.” Her organization, Not on the Curb, jumps into action. “The kids would tell me how they’ve been raped and beat by their family members. One of them talked to me about how her dad raped and beat her, and then he stabbed her three times. That broke my heart. To hear that some of them are homeless, sleeping in their cars, parents getting evicted, living in hotels and stuff like that. A lot of kids I work with don’t know where their next meal is coming from, and they cry because they’re hungry. That bothers me. I don’t like to see a kid crying. I don’t like to see them cold, and I definitely don’t like to see them without shoes on their feet. I make sure they get their hair done, get food and I make sure they have the proper clothes to stay warm and not have to go out here in these streets and steal and beg for money,” said a teary-eyed Oveter McLean. “I’m sorry, Busta, but this stuff brings tears to my eyes.” 

I asked McLean to share a message to parents who may be reading this article. “Listen to your children. Hear your children. Understand your children. And don’t always take other people’s side. Trust your children. Do the best you can for your kids. It’s OK to ask for help when you can’t provide for them, so don’t let your pride keep you from making sure that your kids have what they need. And don’t let a man in your house make you choose between your children. A real man would make sure you have what you need for you and your children. Do not make the choice, choosing a man over your children. Teach your children if they need help, to ask for help as well. Don’t get out there doing illegal things that will cost them the rest of their lives in jail or in a grave.”

My Phenomenal Person of the Week is Oveter McLean. If you’d like to contact Oveter, call 336-471-4329 or ovidamcclain@yahoo.com.

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