Orlando Magic Host Third Annual Magic of Mentoring Minority Male Youth Summit
By Josh Cohen
Feb. 3, 2018
ORLANDO – No matter whose opinion you get on the subject – players, coaches, front office personnel, etc. – everyone seems to agree that it’s essential to have veteran leadership spread across the roster.
Experience often leads to wisdom, and wisdom is typically shared from person to person. In the NBA, rookies rely on vets for guidance and knowledge. This helps them grow, both on and off the court.
The same can be said for anyone just starting out in life, whether it’s in school or in their careers. Young people need mentors who will support them when they are faced with life’s biggest challenges.
The Orlando Magic, identifying mentorship as a crucial tool for success, have put a major emphasis on this in their community. So much so that they recently hosted their Third Annual Magic of Mentoring Minority Male Youth Summit. In partnership with the City of Orlando and Orange County Public Schools (OCPS), the Magic welcomed more than 150 youth and their mentors to Amway Center on Jan. 31 to hear from prominent community leaders on education, decision-making, empowerment, and perseverance.
Titus O’Neil, a WWE wrestler and former AFL player, was the event’s keynote speaker, and he was joined by many other noteworthy panelists and moderators, including Magic Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw and several of Orlando’s prominent community leaders.
“Having a mentor gives boys and young men of color an opportunity to increase their confidence and build self-esteem while helping them succeed academically, prepare for a career and reach their full potential,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said.
“OCPS is very proud of the work being done in our Minority Achievement Office,” OCPS Superintendent Dr. Barbara Jenkins added. “Critical to the success of our students is the involvement of caring mentors, so we are deeply grateful for each individual who makes such a caring investment.”
Research shows that nine million kids in the U.S. grow up without a mentor. In 2014, the NBA sprang into action to help overturn this nationwide issue. The league announced a five-year commitment to support President Barack Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, and since then the City of Orlando and the Magic have done their part to give local minority young males educational experiences, exposure to careers in sports, and incentives for academic performance and mentorship.