My good friend and mentor Tecumseh Shackelford is a very hardworking and selfless man. Since I met Tecumseh, “Shack” as he is fondly called, he has taught me how to be truly committed, generous and skillful at completing any task. Even though he is retired, I don’t know of anyone who works harder than Shack. Most of the “volunteer” work he does is on behalf of helping the young men in the Pasadena/Altadena area of our communities in Southern California.
Shack is one of the co-founders of Mentoring and Partnership for Youth Development (MPYD), a community based non-profit organization which is located at John Muir High School in Pasadena. Shack and several other men in the community answered the clarion call 10 years ago, when the legendary high school‘s principal, Dr. Eddie Newman, requested their help with curbing the bad behavior of the male students at the school. Graduation rates among the males were low; truancy was a major problem and the young men were unmanageable. Fast forward to the present and one will find, MPYD has enacted a daily lunch program for the young men, where community leaders and professionals (both male and females) speak to the young men about their careers; a mentorship program; an annual camping trip for the young men in the picturesque San Diego area of Southern California; Summer internships; an annual fundraiser event to raise funds for MPYD and most of all the young men affiliated with MPYD are graduating at a much higher rate at the high school. MPYD has positively helped over 200 young men at John Muir High School.
Over the years, I have helped my friend Shack with several of the tasks he undertakes to help the young men at John Muir High School. This year, I am proud that through my company’s professional relationship with the Pasadena Unified School District several of the students at John Muir High School were awarded “paid internships.” I am also elated that for the first time in MPYD’s history, Shack and his fellow MPYD’s board members were able to raise enough funds to have the young men transported to the camping trip in a luxury bus. This may be insignificant to those of us who have travelled on luxury buses, but for many of the young men it’s analogous to them boarding an airplane for the first time. They are overjoyed.
I am proud to be affiliated with the work MPYD is conducting and I thank my friend, mentor and big brother Tecumseh “Shack” Shackelford for giving me the opportunity to be part of a worthwhile organization in our community.