Karnell Hatcher is the Program Facilitator with Connect to Greatness’s Lunch Box Talks. He shares insights on how to steer our Black youth on a path to greatness.
I always wanted to give back to the youth and not just knowledge of football, of which I played, but I wanted to give back in a way that it could impact them outside of sports but more so in life choices.
I want to correct their wrongs before they make their wrongs by telling them my story and having them learn from my experiences so they can take the good and leave the bad. Life is all about choices, we always will have choices on the paths we want to take and how we want our life to end up.
We control everything we go through with our choices. Not waiting to make the right choices, but to start now while they’re young and the slate is clean. I want to get them to understand that an uphill climb is way harder than a downhill walk. I want to show them how to work smarter and not harder. Working smarter and not harder is starting at the top of the hill and walking down it, verses falling off the hill and having to climb it again.
With Connect to Greatness, I don’t have any personal gains for myself. I only hope that the boys gain from their time with us. I want them to gain knowledge of how the world works and how to navigate in it while being a person of color. I want our boys to gain great character and to gain awareness that people are always watching them, no matter if they’re doing good or bad. Being aware will always keep them accountable of their actions because they’re thinking more times than not before they’re reacting and before they make very important life decisions. I hope to gain a sense of fulfillment knowing that I’m helping a whole new generation of kids be better than my generation was. That’s how it should be, if we lived it first, then the young ones that come after should live it better.
I’m from Delray Beach, Florida, born and raised, and I’ve spent 22 years here and another 10 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
One thing I have noticed, is that the same obstacles the Black boys of Baton Rouge are presented with are of the same obstacles Black boys in my home town are presented with. I grew up in the same neighborhoods they’re growing up in now, and yes, times have changed, but they’re still the same obstacles that our young Black boys have to get past. It’s already hard for minorities, but I try to make them understand that they can make it even harder by making the wrong choices. I tell them to minimize the light on the negativity and to let the positive light shine like the sun does at 11 am in the morning.
I was very pleased to be appointed to the Program Facilitator position with Connect to Greatness’s ® Lunch Box Talks. I knew that this was something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and now, I am finally about to take it on full throttle. I want my impact in this program to be a huge one. I have a passion for guiding our youth into the right direction — not the direction I want them to go, but the direction they need to go.
So, as you can tell, I’m enjoying this journey that I am on because it’s about to not only push our Black youth forward, but it will push generations forward long after I’m gone. We’re shaping our mentees to become mentors as well. This is only the beginning in my short time with Connect to Greatness. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.Support the work Connect to Greatness does in our community. Please consider a donation to help us reach more youth. Donate here.