Category Archives: Leadership Profiles

“Leadership Profiles” is a category that captures existing, new or past leaders that inspire young black males.

Leadership Profile: Philadelphia Chapter of Concerned Black Men, Student of the year: David Bakali

This blog is dedicated to the memory of Harvey Crudup. Harvey was one of the founding members of the Philadelphia, PA chapter of Concerned Black Men. Harvey passed on Wednesday.

The Philadelphia chapter is the first chapter established prior to the creation of the National Organization of Concerned Black Men, Incorporated. The last time I saw Harvey was at the annual awards luncheon in May 16, 2015. During that ceremony I met David Bakali. David received the chapters highest award, the Student of the Year. David Bakali is my Leadership Profile.

CBM Youth of the Year

Student of the Year David Bakali

David Bakali

When the award was given to David. David was a senior who attended The Shipley School. He played varsity soccer and his team won the 2013 Colonial Cup Classic. David received the Princeton University Book Award in 11th grade and the George Wrangham and Margaret Ralph History Research Prize. David will be attending the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Marketing with additional studies in sociology and psychology.

·         Played soccer and basketball throughout high school

·         Princeton University Book Award, 11th Grade

·         Co-supervisor for a summer camp that serviced children in inner-city Philadelphia

·         Volunteer counselor for Camp St. Thomas at the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas

·         Full time member of the jazz ensemble at the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas

·         First generation immigrant to the US (Parents from Malawi)


Age: 18


I love to play and to watch soccer. I also love to play the drums. Moreover, I love to listen to and to produce music. Additionally, I play video games on occasion. I mostly enjoy hanging out with friends.

Career goal:

I would like to work in management for a nonprofit.

What was your biggest mistake as a teenager?

When I played soccer as a underclassman, I did not work at all to achieve my full potential. I thought that I was always a great player. With such a thought in mind, I felt entitled to a place on the Varsity team. For three years straight, I failed to make the team because I felt that I deserved a spot there without having to work hard for it. Such a mentality transferred over to other aspects of my life. On rare occasions, I would not receive the grades that I should have on certain assessments in school. I felt that I could do well without having to work hard for my best grade. It was not until my senior year of high school when I realized that I need to take more initiative. My skill on the field would not come out of thin air. It was up to me to work as hard as I can to earn a spot on the team and to earn playing time. I did all of these things. What I realized from this was that my achievements are much more meaningful when I work hard for them.

What was your biggest mistake in life?

Throughout middle school and as a underclassman in high school, I failed to manage my time well. I let my workloads take over my social life completely. Because of this, I did not spend as much time as I should have with family and friends. This hindered my ability to fully learn about myself, other people, and my environment. As I look back, I still believe that it is important to do well in school. However, grades are not what define you. It is important to go out into the world and spend time with family, friends, and all people to learn about our collective everyday lives. Additionally, we learn how to improve ourselves to make the most of everything. We become socially aware and we understand ourselves, others, and our environment better. Because I spent so much time in books, I lacked social awareness. I struggled to meet new people and to make new friends. I also failed to surround myself around the right people for me. I didn’t know myself. However, I have become a lot more mature in the past two years. I navigate society a lot better because of how I strive to understand myself, others, and the world at large.

Most challenging part of your life/event:

The most challenging part of my life was 7th grade. At that time in my life, I did not understand life at all. This bothered me, because I had a lot of questions about life that I could not find satisfactory answers to. I was constantly thinking, but I still could not find any direction to go in life. It was a miserable experience.

What would you say to yourself at 16 years old?

At 16 I would say that I need to spend more time with people instead of studying so much. If I am given many opportunities to establish meaningful connections with others, I should make the most of them. That is not possible when I spend all of my time in books. I would grow into a much better person if I made time to spend out in the world.

Did you ever image the impact of your life on others?

In big and small ways, I always imaged the impact of my life on others. I have younger brothers that look up to me. It is always important for me to be there for them, so I can help them become the best people that they can be. Whether through volunteer work, music, or sports, I can help people learn. There’s a lot that I have already learned from others. Therefore, I want to spread my knowledge to help change someone’s life.

When did you realize you had the potential to be a leader?

I realized that I had the potential to be a leader in early elementary school. I excelled in school and I quickly became a role model for my peers. There were high expectations for me to represent myself, my peers, and my family well. I rose above those expectations even in my younger years.

How did your understanding of your potential change you?

My understanding of my potential made me want to keep myself on the right path at all times in my life. I realized that I had to be a role model. Anything I say or do could have a tremendous impact on someone’s life. It was my responsibility to keep myself in a position where I could serve as a reputable source of help for someone else.

What advice would you like to give a young male facing any challenge?

Firstly, I would tell him to keep his head up and keep fighting. I would say this, because his challenge could enable him to grow into a man powerful beyond measure. If he were to back down, he would miss an opportunity to become great. He should stay positive that he can rise above his challenges. Additionally, he should lean on the shoulders of those who are very close to him. These individuals whom he trusts could be very helpful to him. Moreover, he could bring himself closer to these people and establish strong relationships to carry him through life.

Student of the Year David Bakali & his proud father

Student of the Year David Bakali & his proud father

David is now at the University of Pennsylvania focusing on his studies in Social Sciences and Economics. He plans to engage in extracurriculars with music groups and soccer teams. Additionally, he is a student worker for the Africana studies department at UPenn.


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Leadership Profile: Albert Jose Jones, Ph.D. “Doc”

I met and became friends with a legend. It was an experience that fulfilled, matured and humbled me in ways that I can’t explain but I’ll try…

When I decided to get my Open Water scuba diving certification I wanted to do it right. I could have enrolled and completed an Open Water certification in a couple of weekends at any local dive shop and been done with it. Diving is a recreational activity where death is a definite possibility. That being said, I wanted get trained by the best.I figured if I’m going to risk my life, I’d better take as much risk out of the equation. Trying to remember what you learned in a weekend when you’re 100 feet underwater, didn’t seem like a realistically safe scenario.  I heard about Underwater Adventure Seekers(UAS) from a friend that lived in DC. UAS is a Washington, DC based dive club, founded on February 25th 1959 by Dr. Albert Jose’ Jones “Doc”. 55 years running for any organization, they must be doing something right.


In 1959, diving clubs in the area were reluctant to admit and train potential black divers, so “Doc” founded UAS. UAS is one of the first clubs in the US to certify all of its divers under the PADI system. When I started the certification it was supposed to be a few months long, but that year, my class was about 7 months long. It was worth it.  They taught me everything from swimming, to fins and snorkel, to diving. Our classes were at any one of the public pools in DC. When I attended class everyone was helpful and enjoyed sharing their wisdom. There was this guy teaching that everyone revered and paid deep respect. He was always watching…and they affectionately called him “Doc” . He wasn’t arrogant or full of himself, he was real chill. I always appreciate old wisdom, but “Doc” was so cool and humble, you didn’t have to endure long pontificating stories about himself. His stories had me wide eyed and laughing hysterically sometimes. I found that I could sit there and listen to his stories for days. Then one of our instructors, Jay Haigler, mentioned him as if he was a diving deity.


Jay Haigler

Jay Haigler

We all laughed but then Jay or Sylvester Smith (Sly) stated, “regular people know about Jacques Cousteau, but divers know about Dr. Jones (Doc)”. I thought to myself, who is this teacher that I’ve been talking to for the past 2 months? I had to look this old dude up. I mean he’s been teaching me for the past 2 months and I have no idea who he is. He NEVER bragged about what he’s done or where he’s been so I had to rush home to google “Doc”.


I did a search and pulled up the following excerpt from legends of diving website. That’s right I said legend. Dr JonesHeadshot

Caption from references below: “As a master scuba instructor (PADI MSDT #1031), Dr. Jones has amassed more than 6000 dives in more than 50 countries where he has spread his message of swimming and diving safety. Dr. Jones is a spearfishing champion, scuba rodeo champion, and an underwater photographer/ videographer. He has been recognized by PADI for his many accomplishments and his tireless resources to the diving industry. Dr. Jones was honored to receive the Scuba Schools International (SSI) Platinum 5,000 Award for logging over 5,000 dives and contributing to the development of recreational scuba diving in America. Dr. Jones is co-founder, former president, and current chair of the Science & Education Committee of the National Association of Black Scuba divers (NABS). NABS, organized in


Doc back…been there done that.

1991 under his leadership, has formed over fifty dive clubs in the United States and around the world, many of them are modeled after UAS. NABS members and/or clubs can be found in Africa, Australia, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Fiji, Hawaii and the Maldives Islands as well as the continental United States.



Diver Alert Network Rolex Diver of the Year list

NABS has already brought hundreds of people to recreational diving and the association is destined to introduce tens of thousands of more people to recreational diving. Dr. Jones and NABS have been recognized in forty publications including the Washington Post, New York Times and the National Geographic, by NBC, BET, CNN, The History Channel and many local television stations. Dr. Jones was inducted into the Washington, DC Hall of Fame in April 2008, and he was the recipient of the highly DAN/Rolex International Diver of the Year Award for 2005. He was also selected as Sport Diver Magazine “Diver of the Year” in 2008 and selected as Beneath the Sea, Diver of the Year, 2009.

Dr. he Year” in 2008 and selected as Beneath the Sea, Diver of the Year, 2009

Through UAS and NABS, Dr. Jones and his team have trained and certified over 2,000 divers free of charge. In forty-five years he has taught over five thousand people, mostly children, to swim. His commitment to volunteerism comes from his belief that people who have something to give should give to others, whether it is knowledge, skills, or support. Dr. Jones, as an orphan himself, is aware that there is a world of people who just need someone who has faith in them and will show them how to accomplish. Not only did he grow up in a close knit community where many people taught him things and encouraged him to excel, but his teachers and coaches at Dunbar High school and Howard University trained him and students to be leaders who would shape the world and give back to the community.

Doc showing us how it’s done.

Another way that Dr. Jones fulfills this commitment is by visiting schools and colleges to speak with students about careers in oceanography and environmental sciences and about the sport of diving. He easily identifies with the students whose eyes light up as their curiosity and excitement remind him of himself, when he was a junior high school student, listening to a guest speaker talk about oceanography. The young Jose Jones decided that he too would become a Marine Scientist and explore the oceans. Dr. Jones, a seventh degree black belt in TaeKwon Do, also applies his standards for excellence and volunteerism to the marital arts. For thirty-eight years, he has trained thousands of adults and children in the Washington, DC area free of charge. His commitment to a high standard for training can be seen in the confidence and tournament record of his students. The Wheel Kickers TaeKwon Do club was featured in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not as “The Winningest Martial Arts School in America.” It is not unusual for his students to be accomplished in both the martial arts and scuba diving.

Dr. José Jones serves as a role model and mentor for many people of all ages, creeds and backgrounds. His leadership and standards for excellence have shaped many divers and emerging leaders.”

Sly and Doc giving us instructions during "checkout"

Sly and Doc giving us instructions during “checkout”

On my first diving club trip to Belize, my partner Alex said, “When you’re taught by UAS, you’re taught by the best.” All the dive clubs are great, but I understood what he meant cause I feel like I could dive anywhere.  I’m sure we all have met interesting people that we’ve admired, shook their hand, and maybe even had a conversation. In my lifetime, I’ve met men from all walks of life. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting men that were impressive, influential, accomplished but rarely can I say that I’ve had conversations, dined with or even dived with a person that was legendary. Doc has touched my life through his extreme example of leadership, commitment, and humility. I will represent and maintain his high expectations throughout my diving activities. Doc is one of five men that I refer to as an example in my actions. When I’m under water, I think to myself, “What would Doc do?”

Doc is one of the few icons of my life that I will cherish. This leadership profile connects to me at a deeper level, it’s personal. This blog can only scratch the surface of the impact of Dr. Jones. Not only on my life but many many other individuals. I will forever appreciate his exemplary mentorship and depth of character.

Later this week I will be in Mozambique, South Africa diving in the Mozambican channel. I want to put my new nitrox certification to good use. This trip is a dream come true, without UAS, Dr. Albert Jose Jones, Sly, Jay, Alex, Ernie, JB,  and all the other instructors at UAS the trip might not be possible. Dr. Albert Jose Jones is a leader beyond measure, an amazing individual that has impacted so many lives. It has been my pleasure to write this blog and be a witness to his example.


Me and the legend!

Me and the legend!


“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”

Nelson Mandela

Click to access LegendsofDivingFreeportNews.pdf



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Leader Profile “Comment Interview”:

Recent recipient of the National Honor Society Award: Julien Xavier Carroll

How old are you?

I am 16 years of age.

Where do you live?
I live in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
Where do you attend school?
Boys’ Latin Charter School of Philadelphia.
What’s your favorite subject in school?
US History Honors, and Anatomy and Physiology.
Do you consider yourself the top of your class or just average?
I do consider myself the top of my class.
If you have any hobbies, what are your hobbies?
My hobbies include Gaming, Bowling, Blogging, and writing poetry.
What tv shows do you enjoy watching? 
I enjoy watching Dexter, Archer, Fullmetal Alchemist, Soul Eater, and Breaking Bad.
What game console(s) do you own? What games do you like? What level are you?
I own the Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Playstation 2, and Nintendo 64. The games I like most are Resogun, Battlefield 4, Assassins Creed 4, Dead rising 3 (even though its for xbox one), and Killzone Shadowfall.
What are your goals?
My goals are to complete high school, get a Masters degree, start my own Gaming industry, and be very wealthy.
Right now, what would you like to do as a profession?
I want to as a profession to own an gaming retailer such as game stop. Right now I want to pursue internships that would help me reach that goal.
How did you feel when you were selected as National Honor Society recipient?
I felt very elated.
Was it hard to get this honor?
Yes it was. To receive it I had to maintain academic honors for 2 years, do community service and maintain academic excellency.
Were there a lot of recipients for this award?
Not many. There were only about 7 in my grade out of about 20 candidates that made it.
Do you think it was your biggest accomplishment? If not what was?
I would say it is the biggest accomplishment of my academic career so far.
Do you feel closer to your goals since getting into the National Honor Society?

Yes I do. I feel being admitted to the National Honor Society will increase my chances of being accepted into a university of my choice.
Who do you think was the most proudest of you when you won?
My mother.
What advice would you give any young man like yourself regarding life and the future?
Don’t be a follower.

To read the interview, PLEASE click the comment link:

Mr. Carroll,

Thank you for sharing your experience with other positive young men of color.


Author: Robert H. Schuller


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The life of Nelson Mandela: Images and Quotes

Yesterday, Nelson Mandela’s body was laid to rest. I blogged about the death of Nelson Mandela, but I want to celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela in images and his most  popular quotes.


“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”


“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”


“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”


Nelson Mandela won the nobel peace prize in 1993.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”


“We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.”

“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”

“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.”



“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”


“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

“If I had my time over I would do the same again. So would any man who dares call himself a man.”

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