Day of Inspiration: the Young African American Males’ Conference

Ahmad Ali Lewis.Students listen in to YAAMC speakers.Erich K-Rahn Vallatine and healthy living expert Ramses Barden.K-Rahn Vallatine delivers his keynote speech on Ahmad AliK-Rahn connects with students.Students help Lance Arnold make a point.Lance Arnold addresses the group.LeGrand Clegg IILynell Wiggins presents PCC CTE programs.Pasadena NAACP president Gary Moody listens.PCC financial aid information table.State Senate hopeful Anthony Portantino greets students.Conference program booklet.

By CAMERON TURNER

5:48 pm | September 28, 2015


Inspiration was the order of the day as local youth convened at Pasadena College on Saturday, September 26 for the ninth annual Young African American Males’ Conference (YAAMC). Approximately 200 boys and young men between the ages of 11 through 19 gathered inside PCC’s Creveling Lounge for a day of motivational speeches, thought provoking discussions, inspiring videos, and information about college and career opportunities.

PCC president and superintendent Dr. Rajen Vurdien opened the YAAMC by underscoring the value of higher education. Words of encouragement and a stirring invocation were delivered by Rev. Tyrone Skinner, pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church which organizes the conference each year through its nonprofit Metropolitan Community Action Services Corporation. Rev. Larry E. Campbell, pastor of First AME Church Pasadena, urged adults to continue to support youth. Rev. Campbell was joined by members of First AME’s men’s ministry, the Men of FAME, which participates annually in the YAAMC.

The 2015 conference theme, “Dare To Be You,” was introduced by master of ceremonies Cameron Turner and was explored in dynamic presentations by an eclectic group of speakers who urged the conference attendees to think independently, set goals, discipline their actions, become aware of the institutional forces affecting them and to believe in their unlimited potential. YAAMC presenters included K-Rahn Vallatine (author of hip hop life skills curriculum “Live Above the Hype”), Erich C. “Coach E” Nall (who trains pro athletes, entertainers, business persons and youth through his Ultimate Transformations Training), LeGrand Clegg II (attorney and world black history expert), Ahmad Ali Lewis (hip hop artist, Stanford graduate and Master’s student at USC), and Lance Arnold (Pasadena-born Magna Cum Laude graduate of Philander Smith College ).

Pasadena City College counselor Lynell Wiggins made a special presentation on the extensive Career/Technical Education options at PCC. Anthony “Tony” Smith, PCC’s lead Financial Aid Specialist/Coordinator, led a series of workshops for parents alongside Greg Middleton (author, musician and executive director of MPYD mentoring at John Muir High School).