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North Clayton High partners with youth organization

Photo By Jerry Jackson
Sam Collier (right), founder of No Losing Inc., a non-profit organization based in Atlanta, is shown shaking hands with North Clayton High School Principal James Wilburn. The organization will mentor a select group of students at the school.

Photo By Jerry Jackson Sam Collier (right), founder of No Losing Inc., a non-profit organization based in Atlanta, is shown shaking hands with North Clayton High School Principal James Wilburn. The organization will mentor a select group of students at the school.

Sam Collier, founder of No Losing Inc., a non-profit organization based in Atlanta, has made it his priority to try to reshape the minds of youngsters, and help bring them one step closer to their dreams.

In January of 2011, Collier said, he embarked on a journey throughout metro Atlanta, and Clayton County, with the message for young people that: “Life is a game, and you can win, and not lose.”

Collier’s message reached North Clayton High School Principal James Wilburn, and in October, No Losing, Inc., adopted the school, in an effort to help youths who have a desire to improve “academically, and mentally.”

“Both parties have agreed to work together in providing programs, workshops and curriculum that encourages the development of students,” said Allison Gravesande, vice director of No Losing, Inc.

The organization held it’s “introduction workshop” for students in October at North Clayton. Collier, along with the organization’s board of directors, addressed scores of teenagers about the importance of education and how to dream beyond high school.

North Clayton’s Wilburn said the biggest problem with students nowadays is they tend to have a sense of entitlement. He said, in his experience as an educator, high school is the last stop for most teens.

“Student’s have to understand that they are competing with people around the world for jobs,” said Wilburn. “Only reaching the bare minimum, graduating from high school, is not enough.”

He added, that’s why the partnership with No Losing Inc., is a vital resource for the school. “This will build character,” he said. “[Students] need to learn that school really does matter.”

Collier said his organization will mentor and connect students to business professionals, and entrepreneurs in their careers of choice. He added, while in the process, students will learn the benefits of having an education beyond high school, and what tools they will need to be successful in their careers.

Collier said his passion for helping young people was born while working as an singer/songwriter and activist. He said he was making headway in the music industry, working with some of industry’s top artists and producers.

In the midst of his success, Collier said, he began to notice that the entertainment world was becoming strongly influential on youths, and their behaviors.

“Entertainment is raising our children and shaping their minds,” he said. He said television pushes the wrong message to youngsters by showcasing a lot of sex, drugs, and violence. He said, in his opinion, that is largely why test scores are down, and some students lack a proper value system.

“There’s a lot of this [violent] activity happening in Clayton County –– some even in the schools,” said Collier.

For North Clayton sophomore, Candace Duffy, 15, the regular occurrence of violence is something that is all too common in her world. “I feel bad,” said a somber Duffy. “Most of the people who are dying around [me] are my classmates.”

Duffy shared a personal experience of a student who was like a brother to her. She said he died last year from a gunshot wound to the head, as a result of gang activity.

Duffy said she attended the No Losing Inc., workshop in October, seeking to find ways she could become a positive role model, and mediator, to her peers. She said she learned how to use positive-reinforcement skills to resolve confrontations, the importance of celebrating life, and making education a priority.

“It’s nice to come together from something positive,” said the teenager.

Collier and Wilburn said they are working on organizing a contest at the school, for students who are interested in being a part of No Losing Inc. Both said they are looking for students who want to succeed, and are focused, driven, and passionate about the program.

“We will only be able to work with 30 students,” said Collier.

“And we are not just looking for students who are squeaky clean,” added Wilburn.

However, Collier said students must maintain a grade point average of B, when accepted into the program. For students who are chosen with low grades, Collier said, No Losing Inc., will have an education plan in place.

“We are collaborating with Dr. Angela Watkins, professor of psychology at Spelman College [in Atlanta],” he said. “She will assist us with developing some of the academic programs for students.”

“I want to help students to dream bigger, and [do] better things.” Wilburn added.