I emceed a luncheon for the Women’s Giving Circle this past spring. My brother in law is on the board for the Boys and Girls Club of Dekalb County and thought it would be a good fit. It was through that introduction I was led to an incredible opportunity to serve as a mentor for the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta’s Youth of the Year.
I met Brian at his Lawrenceville club where he’s been a member for 11 years.
Everyone knows Brian. Everyone.
I immediately knew I had someone special simply by the way his peers spoke so highly of him.
Brian has a huge smile. I came to know and learn of his huge heart, after I got past the smile.
The first meeting or so I wanted to get to know Brian. I wanted to know what he believes in. I wanted to know what his hobbies are… who is his influences are and what he wants to study in college. I quickly learned I had a “creative and inspirational communicator” on my hands who LOVES super heroes and knew we’d be just fine.
The youths of the year are responsible for compiling a résumé and packet complete with all of their accomplishments and community efforts. They would need to be prepped for interview questions, assisted in speech writing, and advised on inflection and creativity in speech delivery among other things.
Brian’s packet was long. It was long because it goes back to his heart and how he loves to inspire and give back. His résumé was crisp and full of accolades. Brian was a leader at Camp Kiwanis for four summers. It was at Camp Kiwanis where he found the nucleus of his speech. A young camper told Brian he was like a father figure to him. It took his breath away because Brian was a young teen without a father. How could he have such an impact?
It’s because of his single mother, strong (and absolutely beautiful) two sisters and his club, which provided a positive influence and environment where he could flourish into the man he was born to be.
Best comic book of all time? “Super-Jit” named after his mom, Somjit Ball.
The camper who called him a father figure? Well, it defeated sometimes arrogant and selfish villain inside of him. We all have one.
His club? They’re like his X-Men Academy and quickly gave credit to his club director, Rory Johnson.
// Gotham has Batman. Metro Atlanta has Brian. //
Brian is a senior at a tough school of mathematics, science and technology. He’ll attend college in the fall and plans to focus on video production. Brian got a head-start on his passion thanks to the AWESOME equipment at his club. He’s been producing and directing various content for years through multiple outlets. Music? Yep. Film? Yep. Poetry? Yep… He can do it all. Just like a super hero.
Brian won Youth of the Year that night and I ugly cried so hard. I was so proud of his hard work, his selfless work ethic and commitment to this opportunity. He took it so seriously and we had a blast along the way. He absolutely crushed his speech in the most Brian way possible.
He’s an inspirational and creative communicator who is going to do big things in our world. It was an absolute honor to serve as his mentor the past few months and feel incredibly blessed and fortunate to know I selfishly gained a friend for life.
His super hero super dope catch phrase?
>> I am Brian Ball. Born to inspire. Live to inspire. <<
** I hope to have a link to his speech soon! BB had a cape and everything when he brought the house down. Stay tuned! **