Empowering Young Men
AMWAY INDEPENDENT BUSINESS OWNER ED STEVENS ATTRIBUTES MUCH OF THE SUCCESS IN HIS LIFE TO HAVING STRONG MENTORS. ED’S PASTOR TOOK HIM UNDER HIS WING AS A TEENAGER. WHEN ED ENTERED THE AIR FORCE, HIS MENTORING SUPERIORS COACHED HIM ON HOW TO BE A BETTER MILITARY OFFICER. FOR THE PAST THREE DECADES, MENTORS RICK AND TONI FAIRCHILD ADVISED HIM ON BUILDING A STRONG BUSINESS, LIVING A SIGNIFICANT FAITHFUL LIFE AND REACHING HIS GOALS.
“All of my mentors really invested their hearts into finding my strengths and weaknesses, without judgment,” Ed said. “They taught me to keep my dreams alive and to never give up.”
Ed had already been mentoring youth as an educator and businessman for 30 years when he connected with the 100 Black Men of Omaha (100 BMO). This chapter of the 100 Black Men of America helps develop and empower African-American youth to be respectful, responsible and ready to lead.
Through the 100 BMO, Ed met high schoolers and brothers Tyglenn and Tynatamen Walker four years ago. He began visiting the brothers’ school, taking them to sporting events, and exposing them to cultural experiences and entrepreneurship.
“The Walker twins have become a part of my extended family,” Ed said. “They tell me about their concerns, their dreams and their goals. I have watched them come out of their shells and realize all the potential they possess.”
Last year he learned that both Tyglenn and Tynatamen received full scholarships to their local community college. Ed is proud of their hard work and what they’ve accomplished – and he’s learned from them along the way, too. “They keep me contemporary and they make sure I know what’s going on in the world around me,” Ed said.
He serves as secretary of the board and membership co-chair for the 100 BMO and said mentoring and participating in its programs has opened up more opportunities for him to “pay it forward” by supporting young people and families in his community.
He has taught business and financial planning skills to young men, helped kids learn the importance of reading, and introduced youth to the world of aviation. This year, Ed was named mentor of the year by Midlands Mentoring Partnership, an Omaha-based nonprofit.
Ed believes mentorship is the key to a bright future. “Through mentoring, young people can see examples of people doing the right thing,” Ed said. “Most people only need a little encouragement to grow.”
“Through mentoring, young people can see examples of people doing the right thing.” – Ed Stevens
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