Men of Distinction

"Learning to become gentlemen"

Vol. 1, Ed. 1 11.18.16

"As a nation, we are in need of educating EVERY child to their highest potential. We need to offer an avenue of hope and accomplishment to help children reach their goals. Mentorship has always been a part of my life and I hope that I will be able to leave a legacy of building up children so they won't become broken men. May our children leave us and go out into the world and make it a better place." ~ Mr. Melvin J. Owens

Why did Mr. Owens create this program?

Teaching the students the soft skills and the way to conduct themselves in any given situation is very important. This is a MUST for a student to be prepared to operate in our society. How will they know if we don't teach? Proper eye contact, firm hand shake, proper dress, academic mindset, and advocacy skills just don't come about by breathing. Being around great adults in my life in and out of school, made me the person I am today. Being exposed to great mentorship opportunities like Project Keep Hope Alive, Upward Bound, and my fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc. made me want to find a way to continue to do this in a school environment. I wanted to Capture, Inspire, and Teach our young men how to grow into gentlemen!

It started with a dream and now it is a reality!

A big thank you to our Principal, Mr. Fontana. Thank you Mr. Jim Mustain and the Loving Community organization! I can not express my gratitude and appreciation for your leadership and commitment to MoD. Thank you to the MoDs parents who are very supportive in this operation. Without the parent support this transition from boys to men would not be possible. Thank you to our feeder middle school campuses and their administration.

Again this is a work in progress, but a very important one. We will continue to count our victories no matter how small. These successes will grow into a bigger victory in the future. Thank you so much for the support and prayers.

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September Lunch and Learn (Inaugural session)

We did our 1st Lunch and Learn on September 21, 2016. 10 wonderful men from the DFW area volunteered to become mentors for our Men of Distinction. These men went through our district background checks and orientation by the Loving Community organization. Big thank you to Mr. Jim Mustain for his leadership in this area. These men are happy to spend a couple of days a month with our students and get to know them. So happy to be partnering with the Loving Community to make this dream a reality.

During the 1st Lunch and Learn, Mr. Mustain did the welcome and spoke with the students about Goal Setting and Accountability. Students were able to sit with their mentors and work on their SMART goals for the school year. Big thank you to Jason's Deli for providing the nutritious meal for the students and mentors.

The big surprise of the morning was Mr. Owens being awarded the Good Neighbor Award presented by the Loving Community and Abby Realtor. This award was presented to Mr. Owens for being a change agent and founding the Men of Distinction program.

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Men of Distinction Tie Session!

The Men of Distinction learned how to tie their very own ties this morning with the men of Harmon. Administrators, teachers, aides, and our Student Resource Officer gave of their time to teach the students. These men also donated ties to give to the MoDs. This is a great legacy! These young men will always remember who taught them how to tie a necktie. Mr. Owens also taught the MoDs how to dress for less than $10. Great lesson for students who think you have to be wealthy in order to dress professional. Professional dress is very important and our MoD's dress for success every Wednesday. Thank you very much for giving your time and commitment to these awesome students!

October Lunch and Learn

Our October Lunch and Learn session was lead by Mr. Doug Mulvihil. His lesson on Resiliency was excellent. Mr. Mulvihil did an outstanding job of painting a picture for our students in a way they could relate to him. The mentors and MoDs got a chance to break bread together, thanks to Pizza Hut, and also communicate on ways they could be resilient in their lives. Thanks again to the mentors for making this possible.

Academics, Attendance, and Attitude!

Men of Distinction can earn points by getting the highest possible marks in the Triple A's. Mr. Owens has them turn in their "check sheets" periodically for their averages. This points will earn them special privileges and snacks. Another added motivation to always represent yourself well and do your very best.
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Mentoring as Positive Youth Development

Breaking Bread with my Mentor

The MoDs and their mentor have lunch together 1on1 once a month. These generous men bring their MoD their favorite meal and they communicate about their week. Lessons are being reinforced many times during these sessions.
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Choices and Consequences

Mr. Owens taught a session to the MoDs on choices and consequences. You always have the right to choose your choice but not your consequence. In life there will always be someone or something that will have a reaction to your "action". Choose wisely.

November Lunch and Learn

From the words of Jim Mustain!

Great day today with our young men. Shaabyi thank you for your timely and wise words on resolving conflict!

As I listened I found it symbolically important that on the day after an impacting election, with its share of conflict, that a group of men were with a group of young men helping them talk through and process this important topic.

As a point of personal privilege, today I posted my singular post of the political season on Facebook saying this:

Today — irregardless of the outcome of a single day of national VOTING, I will be refreshed and encouraged to rub shoulders with SO many kind and loving friends, VOWING to make every day, a day in which to love, be kind, do good, and be difference makers!

And some days you just need to begin by making a gratitude list!

Today I am grateful that I get to read at Rockbrook Elementary School with 1st graders representing 27 different countries. By my presence and actions letting them feel they are loved and welcomed.

Today I am grateful that I get to sing hymns and share the stories of the ancients with my memory care friends at Arbor House Memory Care Center. Communicating they have value and are respected even as they face mental disease and disability.

Today I am grateful that I get to eat lunch with 9th grade boys as part of Men of Distinction at Lewisville High School - Harmon campus. Blessed to mentor with ten other men who model and teach respect for all, and how to conduct themselves as gentlemen.

Today I am grateful to get to meet with caring community leaders via the Chamber of Commerce who seek the protection and betterment of children through the Children’s Advocacy Center of Denton County.

Today I am grateful to be part of the Rockbrook Town Home HOA and as we meet tonight to discuss and make plans for making our community a wonderful place in which to live.

And all throughout the day I am grateful to reflect on and pray for the many kind and good people who will continue to “show up at the show up place” keep their VOWS and VOTE by their actions and ultimately bring a little heaven to earth!

We are going on a little trip to NYC!

Gotcha! Yes, we did go on a trip thanks to Ms. Kristin Waverka, Chemistry teacher at LHS - Harmon. With the use of VR Goggles, the MoDs were able to travel to New York City. VR is an immersive experience in which your head movements are tracked in a three-dimensional world, making it ideally suited to games and even movies. The MoDs had a great time together discussing the tour and we talked about experiences. Experiences are a big part of success!