100 Black Men of America 31st Annual National Conference

L -R: Benny Truitt (Coach), Gabrielle Meihle, Sydney Tompkins, Dale Hungerford (Coach), and Jacob Blackwell. Kneeling is Charles Gilyard.
L -R: Benny Truitt (Coach), Gabrielle Meihle, Sydney Tompkins, Dale Hungerford (Coach), and Jacob Blackwell. Kneeling is Charles Gilyard.

“What they see is what they’ll be,” the motto of the 100 Black Men of America, is foremost in the service of Charles Gilyard. As Vice President of the Savannah Chapter and chair of the organization’s Economic Empowerment Committee, he designed a program that empowered youth to create wealth.

The 100 Wall Street Mentoring Club started in 2012 at Windsor Forest High School. There have been two groups to date and each group has spent three years each in the club. Students met weekly after school and were mentored in stock market investing, money management, and wealth building. Financial consultant and member Ray Truitt and Economics teacher and volunteer Dale Hungerford were their mentors.

The first group’s investments yielded money of which 100% of all returns added to their college scholarship funds. Those six scholars are currently seniors at various colleges and universities around the country. The second group, began in 2014 and graduated from WFHS this spring. Not only did they repeat the positive outcomes of the first group, they also competed in two national 100 Black Men of America academic competitions.

Members and Volunteers of the 100 Black Men of Savannah, Inc. attended the 100 Black Men of America, Inc. 31st Annual Conference on June 7-11, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. This year’s conference theme was Improving Health and Wellness: Addressing Community, Causation, and Change. Seven Mentees – Gabrielle Meihle, Arielle Carter, Sydney Tompkins, Kelly Rawls, Jr., Jacob Blackwell, Sarah George, and Spencer Brannon attended the conference and participated in a variety of

Kelly Rawls, Jr. Arielle Carter, Brenda L. Roberts (Coach), Sarah George, and Spencer Brannon. Not pictured: Edward Gresham (Coach).
Kelly Rawls, Jr. Arielle Carter, Brenda L. Roberts (Coach), Sarah George, and Spencer Brannon. Not pictured: Edward Gresham (Coach).
activities. Also in attendance were Vice-President and Economic Empowerment Chair Charles Gilyard, members Earl Rilington, Jr., Ray Truitt, Edward Gresham, Shad Dawson, Sr., and volunteers Dale Hungerford, Freddie Gilyard, Rosalyn Truitt, and Brenda Roberts.

Divided in two teams, one valiantly competed in the preliminary round of the State Farm Dollars and $ense (Investment and Money Management) competition. Although Sidney Tompkins, Gabriel Miehle, and Jacob Blackwell were great competitors, they did not advance to the second round.

The second team, the African American History Challenge team, presented in a college quiz bowl, Q and A style competition. The team was composed of Kelly Rawls, Ariel Carter, Sarah George, and Spencer Brannon.

Arielle and Kelly, the showcase contestants, competed in a grueling preliminary round against three other teams on Thursday, June 8, and advanced to the final round. They competed again on Friday, June 9, and emerged as the Second Place National Champions, which includes a prize scholarship, $1,000 each, in addition to their stock market returns. Sarah George was selected from hundreds of talented scholars to sing beautiful renditions of the National Anthem and “Rise Up”, at the “Our Youth Speaks” Breakfast on Saturday morning.

This experience was made possible for the seven great WFHS scholars through a community supported effort. The trip would not have happened without generous sponsors. Tremendous appreciation to Derrick Butler, Ronald and Bernice Gant, Rosalind Abrams, Bonzo and Keisha Reddick, Freddie H. Gilyard, Savannah 100 Foundation, WFHS Dress Down proceeds, 100 BMOA grants, 100 BMOS, State Farm Vernon Donovan, and Rawls Realty.

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