Akimbo’s Free Emerging Leaders Program Helps College Students Channel Their Changemaking Powers

If your pandemic summer’s shaping up to be a bummer, a five-day online workshop series for college-student leaders and changemakers could turn it around—and it won’t cost you a dime.

Akimbo’s Emerging Leaders Program launched in June with 100 students looking to learn the real skills they need to thrive in the working world—and channel their own changemaking powers. It was such a success that Akimbo will offer it again from Monday, August 3, through Friday, August 7, 2020.

Interested students must apply for the program before midnight, Monday, July 6. Click here to learn more and fill out an application.

The program is free, but spots are limited. Finalists will be contacted via email by Thursday, July 9, and a mandatory group call of all finalists will be held at 10 a.m. (ET) on either Monday, July 13, or Tuesday, July 14. Students will receive notice of acceptance on Wednesday, July 15.

The project-based program is designed for fulltime undergraduate college students from the sophomore level up to 2020 graduates. It’s run by two Akimbo coaches with a passion for helping students embrace the unknown and discover their own ability to make change. “It’s really all about leaning into the possibility ahead,” said Taylor Harrington, who manages the program. “There’s no rubric for the projects.”

“This program could be the thing that helps Sullivan students realize, ‘This is what it takes to help me get where I want to go. This is the path I should take. This is the first step. And I don’t have to do it alone,’” Harrington said. “When we ran this program in June 2020, students found their tribe. I had one student reach out and share how reassuring it felt that there were people out there, other college students, who also question the status quo, who want to push the boundaries of what’s possible, who were searching for a community of like-minded peers to support them.”

Founded by entrepreneur, author and blogger Seth Godin, Akimbo offers a range of online workshops that include the four-week altMBA program focused on leadership and management. According to the company’s website, Akimbo’s workshops are “about bending the culture, about speaking up and being heard. We believe that each of us has more power than ever before to see the world as it is, to contribute and to make things better.”

The Emerging Leaders group will meet online through Zoom starting at 10 a.m. (ET) each day. The program includes a few hours of group conversation led by the coaches, followed by intensive work on daily team projects—the exact nature of which can’t be revealed in advance, Harrington said. “I can say they’re open enough that everyone will be able to relate to them and interpret them differently,” she said. “The assignments won’t be silly group projects about something students aren’t interested in. Students will be asked to talk about themselves within the projects and the change they want to make in the world.”

Recalling the June program, Harrington said, “Students spent a lot of time together. The projects helped them dig deep, to leave with more questions than they had at the beginning of the week. There aren’t any case studies. This is about the students, their work and where they want to go … They find the answers within themselves and each other.”

One participant, Kimia Tabatabaei, said the June program taught her “what it means to be a lynchpin, the type of leader whose magic and authenticity and commitment to a purpose bring value to every place they enter. And I’ve learned that being that leader doesn’t require any permission. All you need is to choose yourself, to trust yourself and to believe that you have the power to step up and start making that change.”

Natalie Esparza participated in the Emerging Leaders workshop program in June. (LinkedIn photo)

Natalie M. Esparza, another participant, agreed. “No matter how old you are, no matter where you are in the world, you can take ownership of making change happen. You can ask for help from anyone in the world who’s just as passionate as you, and you can make things that didn’t exist a week ago that are powerful and life-changing.”

Since many Sullivan-affiliated students have already built their own network of like-minded changemakers through the Ignite Retreats, field trips and study-abroad adventures, Akimbo’s Emerging Leaders Program offers a chance to cast their net even further. “Last time we had students from all over the world join us, including students from Australia who switched their sleep schedule to dedicate time to this,” Harrington said. “Experiencing ‘aha!’ moments with students from around the world whom you’ve never met in person is something magical.”

Guilford College Art Professor’s Paintings Capture Plight of Systemic Racism

Antoine Williams, an assistant professor of art at Sullivan Foundation partner school Guilford College, recently auctioned his mixed-media work on Instagram in support of racial justice and the Black Lives Matter movement.

“All of the figures in the painting are small within this distressed surface, so it’s all of us—Black people within a system of racism. We are in this system of economic and racial oppression. We are still people, and we still navigate it, and we still do the best that we can,” Williams explained.

Related: Past Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award winner Josh Nadzam raises funds for NAACP With Run for Black Lives marathon

The two pieces included in the auction were selected from Williams’ “There Will Be No Miracles Here” series, based on Casey Gerald’s book of the same name. Both the novel and the artwork serve as memoirs of each man’s experience with racial identity and systemic power injustices.


“The series overall is about memory,” Williams said. “It’s about these people that I grew up with that I love, but as a kid you look at them as superheroes. Adults are something else when you are a kid, and then you grow up and you realize they are, like all of us, flawed individuals. Then you get older, and I am taking a look back, realizing these are individuals who were within this system.”

Williams also worked with local North Carolina art institutions that have exhibited his work to donate to the cause. “There is conversation in the art world around white-led art institutions who benefit greatly from Black creative labor but don’t do enough to address anti-blackness and white supremacy,” he said. “Them taking part in the fundraiser was a way of having these institutions engage, past Instagram posts, in a way that affects the lives of actual Black people.”

Related: This Houston organization aims to break the school-to-prison pipeline for disadvantaged youth

At Guilford, Williams takes these lessons beyond his work and into the classroom, where he teaches students the importance of art in social movements. With protests for racial equality taking place across the community, he wants to serve as a reminder that advocacy can take on many forms. “Everyone doesn’t have the ability to be on the front line at a protest. But we all have skills and resources that can benefit the movement that may not be on the frontlines,” he said.

Williams joins many local artists who have been sharing their work on social media and across downtown Greensboro. “Public art can be a double-edged sword in that it can employ artists and spread awareness. But it can also be used as symbolic gestures in place of actual systemic change. It becomes a backdrop without any real action,” he said.

While he doesn’t have expectations for viewers of his work, Williams said he hopes that those who see his pieces and other public Black Lives Matter artwork will also take the time to educate themselves on how to dismantle white supremacy.

This article was edited slightly from the original version appearing on the Guilford College website.

Brenau University Faculty, Students and Alumni Guide Georgians Through COVID-19 Quarantine

In the face of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), students, faculty and alumni at Sullivan Foundation partner school Brenau University are working hard to provide education and support for those in quarantine or who are transitioning from hospital to home.

That includes Brenau alumna Brittany White, a medical social worker at Emory University, who educates and assists patients and their families with care coordination, care progression and discharge planning.

Related: UK social enterprise will bypass big drug companies to make COVID-19 vaccine available to the poor

White, who earned her B.S. in health science in 2012 and M.S. in applied gerontology in 2013 from Brenau, said COVID-19 has pushed healthcare workers to be more creative and innovative in their daily practices. “We think critically,” she said. “We look at not just one aspect but the entire picture. We will not always be able to create a solution for everything, but we do everything we can to help facilitate the safest and most effective discharge for our patients.”

White credits her Brenau education with preparing her for the complex challenges brought on by COVID-19. “I work with a hospital system and team that are taking extraordinary measures that are innovative and [who] are all-around pioneers and world-leading experts,” she said. “I get to be a part of that. But if I know anything, as a Brenau graduate, I am like ‘gold refined by fire.’ Each day, I am working through this crisis, sifting, sorting and continuously refining. I love being a social worker, and I love that Brenau molded and refined me into the strong, resilient and leading woman that I am today.”

While White does not provide hands-on medical care, she is still affecting the lives of each person she encounters by offering as much support as possible. Sometimes, that means a different approach to a new problem.

Related: How Brenau University helps unseen and forgotten populations survive the pandemic

“COVID-19 has shown how resilient we social workers can be,” she said. “You get creative, you get smarter, and you work harder to find and facilitate solutions. Social workers are supposed to help patients and communities to cope and thrive in times of crisis and transition.”

An important part of that transition is quarantine care, and a new partnership at Brenau’s Ivester College of Health Sciences will ensure that quarantined individuals get the care and attention they need while also providing a vital learning opportunity for students.

Becky Metcalfe, associate professor of nursing at Brenau University

Through the nonprofit Hope Ripples, students in the Mary Inez Grindle School of Nursing will be providing help to those affected by COVID-19—particularly patients who have been sent home and are quarantined. In doing so, they will also be able to earn clinical hours.

“Brenau is going to be the first group working with Hope Ripples,” said Associate Professor of Nursing Becky Metcalfe, who was already volunteering with the organization prior to the new clinical partnership. “We’ll follow patients who have been sent home during their 14 days of quarantine, making sure to communicate what symptoms to watch for. When necessary, we’ll connect them to resources like food, medicine—anything they need.”

Students meet nightly online with a professor and other students to discuss their clients’ needs as well as their experiences in general. For nursing major Tenkela Williams, that includes gaining valuable experience in the field while also helping others.

Tenkela Williams, left, is one of the nursing students working with Hope Ripples. (Photo courtesy of Tenkela Williams)

“It will not only assist in my communication skills with clients, but it will also provide others with the necessary support they need to get through this virus and not feel as if they are alone throughout the process,” Williams said. “Without this one-on-one interaction, I would not feel as confident entering into the nursing profession.”

All of this is done via phone or Zoom, and volunteers follow a strict script with information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Related: University of Virginia faculty, alumni lead effort to combat food insecurity during pandemic

The CDC has been at the forefront of educating and protecting the public in regard to COVID-19, and that’s a big part of the job for Christy Smith, a quarantine public health advisor for the CDC and psychology student working on her master’s in clinical counseling at Brenau.

Smith is part of the preparedness team that works with quarantine stations at the land borders and the two major airports in Georgia—Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport. She is tasked with safeguarding the public by staying in close contact with the quarantine teams if they have to respond to a sick traveler. That includes creating and executing various plans with partners such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Throughout the year, the plans are worked on and practiced in case an outbreak occurs.

Christy Smith is a quarantine public health advisor for the CDC and is earning her master’s in clinical counseling psychology. (Photo courtesy of Christy Smith)

While she isn’t providing hands-on care, Smith, who in five years at the CDC has also been involved with responses to other viruses such as Ebola and Zika, is still hard at work preparing those who are in direct contact with the travelers to make sure illnesses do not enter the country. With COVID-19, the team has now switched to response mode, meaning those plans are put into action.

“Everybody has been coming together to respond to this pandemic,” Smith said. “All the effort that is being done to carry out these plans has always been there, but it’s magnified now. I’m proud to be part of it, even though it may not be recognized as much. I see it firsthand, and I know that we have extremely talented people doing difficult work.”

This article was edited slightly from the original version appearing on the Brenau University website.

Lecture Series at Furman University Aims to Bring People Together in Polarized Times

The novel coronavirus has spent the last three months driving people apart. This summer, Michele Speitz, an associate professor of English literature at Sullivan Foundation partner school Furman University, hopes the humanities can help bring them back together with “Tolle, Lege,” a virtual lecture and discussion series.

“The humanities addresses these fundamental questions of what it means to be human, of what it means to live the good life, and we’ve had everything that feels normal and feels right go out the window,” Speitz, also the director of the Furman Humanities Center, said. “It’s the tools of the humanities that can help us find a clear path forward and take some comfort in what people have done and said before.”

Related: Furman University professor develops life-saving humanitarian drones

A child’s voice chanting “tolle, lege” (Latin for “take, read”) prompted theologian and philosopher Augustine of Hippo to begin reading from his collection of Paul’s epistles, which led to his conversion to Christianity. Influencing religious choice isn’t the aim of the series but opening the door to enlightenment certainly is.

“The driving idea behind this was to connect Furman’s really illustrious humanities professoriate to people when we’re feeling disconnected, using the humanities’ power to heal, to reach audiences within the Furman community and then beyond the Furman community,” Speitz said. “It’s always been very important for us that there wouldn’t be any paywalls and that this could be accessed by anybody.”

To wit, all six lectures are free, open to the public, and available now for viewing on the “Tolle, Lege” website. You can also visit the website to register for the live Q&A sessions, which will be held on the following dates:

“There is a really nice spectrum of topics, from biblical Christian texts to Indian art, and I’m proud that it represents the many different types of varied work that makes Furman such a great place to be faculty and to be a student,” Speitz said.

She noted that her early fears of lack of interest have been assuaged with a surge of signups for the Q&As. “This is kind of beyond our wildest imagination how well this is being received right now.”

Related: Furman University wins award for green buildings

“Tolle, Lege” is a collaboration among Furman faculty representing the departments of English, religion, history, Asian studies, classics, and modern languages and literatures, with support from the Furman Humanities Center and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), under the direction of Nancy Kennedy. The Louis G. Forgione Professor of Classics Chris Blackwell was also instrumental in the process of bringing the lecture series to life.

This article was edited slightly from the original version appearing on the Furman University website.

Clemson Honors Carly Malcolm, Activist on Behalf of Survivors of Sexual Assault, With Sullivan Award

Carly Malcolm has been awarded the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Student Award at Clemson University for demonstrating Mr. Sullivan’s ideals of heart, mind and conduct as evidenced by “generous and unselfish service to others.”

Malcolm majored in language and international health, an integrated degree program that combines studies in health sciences and a language (Spanish). She minored in gender, sexuality and women’s studies. Both her major and minor programs are offered in the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities.

Related: Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award recipient Justala Simpson of Huntingdon College prepares for career in ministry

She came to Clemson University from High Point, North Carolina, as one of six National Scholars in 2016. As members of Clemson’s most elite academic merit program, National Scholars receive scholarships that cover tuition, fees and other expenses, in addition to special advising, mentorship and enrichment opportunities, including a funded study-abroad trip after their first year.

Malcolm has combined her interests in health policy and gender equity to improve the Clemson community by addressing issues of sexual assault and domestic violence and support services for survivors. She has gone above and beyond interest and advocacy, taking action on behalf of others, the university stated in a press release.

“Receiving this award is very meaningful to me because it recognizes the importance of improving resources for survivors of sexual violence at Clemson,” Malcolm said. “I have been honored to work alongside many passionate and talented students and staff who are dedicated to serving this community and making Clemson a safer, more equitable environment for all.”

During her time at Clemson, Malcolm was involved in student government, UNICEF and several Honors College programs. She studied in Stellenbosch, South Africa, and visited other cities—such as Durban and Johannesburg—while she was there. In 2018, Malcolm completed a summer internship with the American Public Health Association in Washington. As part of her major, she also studied in Córdoba, Argentina, and completed an internship at a hospital there.

Related: Steffi Kong, recipient of the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award at Converse College, “excels at everything she does”

As a senior, Malcolm took part in a yearlong Creative Inquiry undergraduate research project called “Stories of Refuge, Detention and Hospitality.” In the program led by professors Angela Naimou and Joseph Mai, each student met with someone being held at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia, and listened to personal stories about immigration and becoming a refugee. The students later presented their findings at a symposium.

Malcolm said she is especially proud of the work she has done at Clemson as a member of It’s On Us, a student-led movement to end sexual assault on college campuses, and as an interpersonal violence prevention intern in the Office of Access and Equity. As part of her internship, she raised awareness about issues of consent, sexual assault and bystander intervention and helped provide educational programming on those topics.

“As an alumna, I will continue to support the movement to improve survivor resources at Clemson and look forward to seeing the progress that will be made,” Malcolm said.

In the coming months, Malcolm will begin a Lead for North Carolina government fellowship. The program, run by the School of Government at UNC-Chapel Hill, also a Sullivan Foundation partner school, aims to cultivate the next generation of public service leaders. Malcolm will work with the Register of Deeds office in Guilford County, helping develop a new Community Innovators Lab. She described the project as a creativity incubator for planning, developing and delivering knowledge and resources in her hometown.

Eventually Malcolm plans to pursue a master’s degree in public health.

This article has been edited slightly from the original version appearing on the Clemson University website.

 

Dewey and Barbara Trogdon, Berenice Fuentes Juarez Honored With Sullivan Awards from Guilford College

Sullivan Foundation partner school Guilford College has presented the prestigious Algernon Sydney Sullivan Awards for 2020 to Dewey and Barbara Trogdon from the Guilford community and Berenice Fuentes Juarez from the student body.

Dewey Trogdon is a Guilford College alumnus who graduated in 1958. He and Barbara, his wife, have lived their lives rooted in working-class values formed as children growing up through the Great Depression and World War II. Those formative years informed their strong work ethic, generosity and focus on family, friends and individuals in need of a hand from time to time. Together, Dewey and Barbara represent grace, giving, friendship and a sense of community, according to a Guilford College press release.

Related: Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award winner Justala Simpson of Huntingdon College prepares for a career in ministry

Berenice Fuentes Juarez, the oldest daughter of Mexican parents, identifies as Mexican-American and is a first-generation college student—now a Guilford alumna. Raised in Oakland, California, she double majored in public health and biology with a minor in Spanish, all while building an exceptional record of leadership and service at Guilford.

Juarez worked with Soy un Lider, an annual college preparation and empowerment conference for Latinx and refugee students hosted by Guilford College, and Latinx Impact, a community-based program for high-school students, as well as campus organization Hispanos Unidos de Guilford. She also served as a research assistant for 200- and 300-level biology courses taught by Professor Melanie Lee-Brown.

Dewey and Barbara Trogdon
Dewey Trogdon is the former CEO and chairman of Cone Mills and past president of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute. He has been a mentor to many in the business world.

He also is an amateur historian on two counts: about the former Atlantic and Yadkin Railway and the town of Summerfield, N.C., where he and Barbara were born. As a young volunteer firefighter, Dewey used his mechanical skills to help build many of the original fire trucks for the Summerfield Volunteer Fire Department. He also served as an assistant chief of the department and provided care for people injured in accidents and fires when emergency services were scarce.

Related: Steffi Kong, winner of the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award at Converse College, “excels at everything she does.”

In a letter to the editor of the Greensboro News and Record in 2000, Dewey, a Korean War veteran, wrote: “For me, Korea was the beginning of an aversion toward shedding our blood and national wealth and committing young Americans to oblivion as a result of uncertain national goals.”

Dewey graduated from Guilford with a bachelor’s degree in economics and completed additional study at Harvard University, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and the University of Virginia. He has received Guilford’s Alumni Excellence Award and Charles C. Hendricks ’40 Distinguished Service Award. He and Barbara have been loyal benefactors to Guilford College and are members of the Macon Society (total gifts of more than $1 million) and Francis T. King Society (with a planned gift). Dewey served as a member of the Guilford College Board of Trustees from 1980 to 2004 and has been a Trustee Emeritus since then.

Barbara and Dewey Trogdon, community recipients of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for 2020 at Guilford College.

When reflecting on contributions both of his parents have made to Guilford and the larger Triad community, their son Mark Trogdon, a 1983 graduate, said their acts of service have followed “a basic tenant of, it’s what you do to help others/organizations because you believe it is necessary to help them.”

Mark added that for decades his mother Barbara “has provided financial support to numerous hard-working people striving to create a sustainable existence and promising future for themselves and their families. She has done this without fanfare, driven by a genuine goal of simply helping others while maintaining their dignity and integrity … not drawing attention upon herself or those in need,” he said. “She did this when we had minimal family resources and later on in life when they (my parents) had more to share.”

“I am extraordinarily proud of my parents and (of) Guilford for recognizing them,” he said.

Berenice Fuentes Juarez
In 2019, Juarez was honored by the N.C. Campus Compact with its annual Community Impact Service Award, given to students who demonstrate a deep commitment to community involvement and an ability to inspire their peers. Juarez was one of only 22 students statewide to receive the Community Impact Service Award last year, first presented by the Campus Compact in 2006.

The fact that Juarez has received that kind of recognition, including this year’s Sullivan Award, is no surprise to her biology professor, Dr. Melanie Lee-Brown. Lee-Brown met and first taught Juarez when, in her sophomore year, Juarez enrolled in her Scientific Inquiry: Bioterrorism class. At that time, the Scientific Inquiry course was part of core course work for biology majors, Lee-Brown said. She described the class as the “first introduction to self-generated research” for students in the major.

Related: Davidson College bestows Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award on student with a heart for the homeless

Typically, students in the class are organized in groups of four to design a research project around a prompt from the professor. “She (Juarez) did really well,” Lee-Brown said.  “[W]ithin her group, I recognized that she was a leader. She was one that was always working towards them setting goals and getting those goals accomplished within their group. And beyond that, she was somebody that really seemed to care about the folks in her group.”

Juarez is not only “very service-minded,” but also a broad thinker, Lee-Brown said. She is someone with the ability to bring people of different backgrounds together and “help to get people excited about the work. That was both inside and outside the classroom,” Lee-Brown said, whether Juarez was rallying classmates to volunteer with a Soy un Lider conference or ensuring biology students had access to extra lab time and other resources they needed.

“She faced a lot of adversity in her personal life on top of all of this,” Lee-Brown noted, “so it’s even more amazing what she ended up accomplishing in her time here.”

“She’s been through a lot and she has a lot of strength,” the professor added. “I think she has a lot more strength than she thinks she does at some points.”

After reflecting on Juarez’s growth during her studies at Guilford—as a leader, a female scientist and a young woman of color juggling many responsibilities—Lee-Brown summed up her thoughts about her former student and advisee: “She’s an excellent combination of strength and softness, and outward responsibility, and caring and maturity. “This (Sullivan) award was perfect for her, because it did highlight so much that is Berenice.”

If the academic year had concluded as planned for Guilford’s Class of 2020, the graduates would have been joined in celebration on the campus quad last month by this year’s Sullivan Award recipients. Instead, with spring commencement plans halted by the global COVID-19 pandemic, current plans call for all three 2020 Sullivan Award honorees to be recognized at Guilford’s 2021 commencement.

This article was edited slightly from the original version appearing on the Guilford College website.

 

Veteran Seeks to Help Injured Soldiers Regain Full Strength

When Brooks Herring decided to give college a try after serving in the U.S. Navy and working for the Army, he had one goal in mind: Creating a physical therapy program that would help wounded service members get back to the level of strength and activity they had before their injury.

All during his undergraduate years at Sullivan Foundation partner school University of South Carolina, the self-described Gamecock for life says he took every opportunity to have a typical college student experience while never losing sight of his ultimate goal.

Related: Winthrop University freshman leads charity supporting veterans

“I doubted myself coming back to school after all those years,” said Herring, who graduated summa cum laude and with leadership distinction in 2018 with a major in exercise science and a minor in business. “Once I made it through that first semester with a 4.0, I knew I would be OK.”

Herring is in his second year of the doctor of physical therapy program at the university’s Arnold School of Public Health. After that, he plans to pursue a Ph.D. in exercise science, focusing on his goal of using research-based evidence to help improve the lives of wounded veterans.

Brooks Herring in 2018, the year he earned his degree in exercise science at the University of South Carolina

Herring served in the Navy from 2005 to 2011 and deployed to Iraq and Africa. He was an Army civilian from 2011 to 2013 and deployed to Afghanistan. He made a commitment to give back to others who have sacrificed while serving their country. “I came home with all 10 fingers and toes, and I feel guilty about that,” Herring said.

“I recognized after I started as a student that there was a need for advocacy on campus. My personality type just doesn’t let me sleep knowing (there’s that need for veterans) unless I’m doing something about it,” added Herring, who was born on an Air Force base in Louisiana and raised in Conway, South Carolina.

He has created Run Phase, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has partnerships in place waiting for him to finish his doctorate so he can begin working with veterans. Herring is working with professors in his graduate program to learn as much as he can about the human body and to use best practices to create a program that will help a variety of injuries.

“A lot of the work that needs to be done will come after graduation,” Herring said. “It will be a clinic with a different approach.”

The goal of much physical therapy is to get the patient able to handle daily tasks needed for independent living, such as being able to get around or take care of personal needs inside the home. What Herring envisions is more like the physical therapy that high-performance athletes undergo to rehab an injury.

“This is a young, physically fit, active and motivated population that has gone from a very high level of performance to a very low level,” Herring says of soldiers who have suffered a traumatic injury, such as the loss of a limb, a severe burn or brain injury associated with improvised explosive devices seen so much during the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“You couple that with combat trauma and you’re adding a psychological component that often isn’t even considered during PT,” Herring says. “Our current therapy regimens are getting them nowhere near where they were.”

Herring’s program would take over where traditional physical therapy leaves off — “for those that want to get to the next level of rehab.”

The clinical component for now will require funding because that is not the goal of federally funded physical therapy for service members. But Herring hopes that once he has completed his second doctorate, which will allow him to focus on research, he will be able to show the value of the higher level of rehab so it will be paid for by veterans’ benefits.

“I am able-bodied enough to benefit those who weren’t as lucky as I was,” Herring says. “I know the benefits of physical activity and I want to bring that experience home to others.”

This story was edited slightly from the original version appearing on the University of South Carolina website with additional material from this article.

 

The Run for Black Lives: Josh Nadzam Raises Funds for NAACP in 26-Mile Marathon

Josh Nadzam, a 2012 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award winner and graduate of the University of Kentucky, has never been the kind of person who runs away from problems—he runs to solve them. Raised by a single mother in the housing projects of Pittsburgh, Nadzam used his talent and skills as a scholar-athlete to escape grinding poverty, winning a full scholarship with the Wildcats’ track and field team and becoming one of the top milers in the SEC.

More recently he ran to bring awareness to another problem: police brutality and racial inequity. Nadzam, a social entrepreneur and cofounder of On the Move Art Studio in Lexington, Kentucky, ran 26 miles from Lexington to Frankfort, Kentucky, in a fundraiser for the Kentucky NAACP on Friday, June 19. Despite conceiving and organizing the event in less than a week, he ended up raising more than $7,000 from 130 donors. Prior to the marathon, we asked Nadzam to talk about his commitment to social justice, the Black Lives Matter movement and his belief that “an injustice to one is an injustice to all.”

Related: How Josh Nadzam outran poverty and uses art to change kids’ lives

Sullivan Foundation: What inspired you to take this on? How did you get the idea?

Josh Nadzam: Racism, discrimination and the injustices experienced by black Americans are completely unacceptable, and I want to do everything I can to play my role in dismantling the systemic structures that perpetuate these issues. I want to be an ally, fight for social justice, and make our country welcoming and fair for all Americans. I’m always trying to think of various ways I can effect change, so in addition to policy changes, protests, and other forms of activism, I believe each one of us has a set of skills we can use to contribute to the cause. Mine happens to be running. So I thought I could raise awareness for this issue and also raise funds for an organization that is constantly fighting this battle by running from my home city to our capitol in Kentucky.

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Josh Nadzam crosses the finish line in the Wesley Waddle 5K Run in 2017.

Sullivan Foundation: What does the Black Lives Matter movement mean to you personally?

Nadzam: To me, it is an expression that the black community feels like their lives do not matter as much as other lives. It’s a rallying cry to draw attention to deep, systemic issues that have existed for centuries. One of my favorite quotes is, “An injustice to one is an injustice to all.” So, while I’ll never be able to relate to what it is like to be black in America, if anyone hurts in America, then I hurt, too. Their pain is my pain. We’re all in this together, so I won’t rest until we fix this.

Sullivan Foundation: I know you’re a physically fit guy, but 26 miles! Wow! Will this be a breeze for you, or do you see it as a serious challenge?

Nadzam: It’s definitely going to be challenging, but, fortunately, I’ve run a few marathons before which are 26.2 miles, so I at least have an idea of what it’ll feel like. But it’ll still be hard—and very hot that day!

Sullivan Foundation: Do you have other people running with you?

Nadzam: There is at least one other person who is going to run the whole way with me. A few others have expressed interest in running a portion of it with me. I wish we could have a ton of people run, but, unfortunately, there isn’t really a safe route to run from Lexington to Frankfort with a large crowd.

Sullivan Foundation: As more and more young people begin to join this protest movement, what do you think they need to know to serve as effective allies?

Nadzam: I think what we all need to do as effective allies is to listen, be humble, approach these situations without defensiveness, and recognize as white people that we have privileges that allow us to navigate America in a much different and safer way than people of color. Also, this fight is a marathon, not a sprint. While it is “trending” right now, this issue is going to take decades to resolve. We need everyone to get engaged and stay engaged long after this conversation fades away from the national spotlight.

Postscript: Ten people joined Nadzam for part of the 26-mile run with one person, Gavin Galanes, completing it with him. “The sun was unforgiving, and there was no shade the entire way,” Nadzam later posted on Instagram. “I got pretty sick once I was home, but it was all worth it.”

“We’re All Sea Creatures”: Dr. Sylvia Earle Explains Why the Oceans Are Crucial to Economic Prosperity

“We’re all sea creatures,” says marine biologist, explorer and author Dr. Sylvia Earle, president and chairman of Mission Blue/The Sylvia Earle Alliance, in this exclusive video chat with Real Leaders Magazine. And protecting the world’s oceans is about more than saving the whales and dolphins—it’s about economic prosperity and the overall health of humankind, too.

Earle is a National Geographic explorer-in-residence and was the first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Time Magazine named her its first Hero for the Planet in 1998. Since her childhood, she has watched the oceans become a “dump site” for humankind’s garbage and has worked to protect special sections—dubbed “Hope Spots”—that are critical to the planet’s health.

Businesses can play a role in defending the oceans while creating jobs and promoting economic development, Earle believes. “The really durable and clever businesses are those that will figure out how best to use these assets,” she says. “Healthy oceans mean healthy people. An unhealthy ocean surely means that we’re in trouble.”

About Real Leaders Magazine: Located on the web at real-leaders.com, Real Leaders Magazine is the world’s first sustainable business and leadership magazine. Real Leaders aims to inspire better leaders for a better world, a world of far-sighted, sustainable leadership that helps find solutions to the problems that 7.5 billion people have created on a small planet. Click here to subscribe to Real LeadersFor more Real Leaders video content, check out their Youtube page here.

Sullivan Award Winner Justala Simpson of Huntingdon College Prepares for Career in Ministry

By Su Ofe

Justala Faith Simpson, a 2020 graduate of Sullivan Foundation partner school Huntingdon College, was honored with the prestigious Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in May. The award is presented annually to a Huntingdon College senior who exemplifies the definition of “nobility of character” as established by the Sullivan Foundation.

Simpson, a religion major from Montgomery, Ala., was active in and held leadership roles for Huntingdon Campus Ministries and the Huntingdon Leadership Academy. She was also active in her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., and served on the executive council of Huntingdon College’s Student Government Association, as a Huntingdon Ambassador and Student Recruiter, and as a member of the Huntingdon Concert Choir, among other organizations. Passionate about youth and teaching ministries, she interned with the Huntingdon Leadership Academy and with First United Methodist Church-Montgomery.

Related: Steffi Kong, winner of the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award at Converse College, “excels at everything she does”

Simpson is a local and denominational leader in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, serving as the youth liaison on the planning committee for General Conference 2020 and as youth president of the AMEZ Church. She also served on the planning committee for the denomination-wide Midwinter Gathering for Christian Education for Youth and Young Adults.

“I have seen that her academic abilities, astute theological reasoning, wide-range of ministry experiences, and gifts for leadership demonstrate the nobility of character and fine spiritual qualities recognized by the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award,” said Huntingdon religion professor Dr. Diane Abernethy.

The daughter of two pastors, the Reverends Harold and Lessie Simpson, Simpson also feels called to ministry as her vocation. She will enter seminary study at Candler School of Theology at Emory University this fall, where she received a full-tuition Presidential Scholarship to continue her education, discernment and development as a leader in the church.

Simpson is a 2017 graduate of Brewbaker Technology Magnet High School. At Huntingdon, she was inducted into Sigma Sigma Sigma, Theta Alpha Kappa, and Order of Omega honor societies. A summa cum laude graduate, she received the Margaret Read Scholarship Medal upon graduation with her Bachelor of Arts degree. This spring, she was also recognized with the Louise Panigot Award as the senior religion major “who holds the greatest promise for scholarly achievement in the field of philosophy and in the academic study of religion.”

This story was edited from the original version appearing on the Huntingdon College website.