The Beginning

"The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious." 

-John Scully

It is actually kind of funny. Now that we sit around and talk about The Winning Edge Leadership Academy, the need for it seems obvious. The foundation of it is obvious. But a year ago it was a mere possibility that seemed as if it would never take shape. It was a pie in the sky dream, a long off goal, and a great way to fantasize about making a difference.

But The Winning Edge Leadership Academy is spreading like wildfire and has officially been taken from mission statement to action plan. The first ever mentor and student interviews have been conducted and it was incredibly rewarding to see individuals morph from words on an application, into honest eyes, genuine hearts, and nourishing conversations.

Google Hangout student interviews were conducted on a stormy Saturday afternoon by Jalaine Edwards, Alystia Moore, Corinne Milien, Mary Chaudoin, and myself (Maria Taylor). And although clouds and showers rolled through Charlotte the entire day, the individual light of each student burned bright as they gushed about their dreams, goals, and future. After every interview our staff would gather outside on the porch and talk about where we saw each student fitting in and how The Winning Edge Leadership Academy could serve each individual. It was amazing to witness the breath of fresh air that wafted in after seeing the students whom we would soon be facilitating.

I remember one interview in particular. Jalaine asked a young student a simple question, “What is your dream job?”.

The response was simple.

“I don’t know, I guess I haven’t thought about my dream job too much”

This particular student grew up in a tough neighborhood and worked their way to college and is setting an incredible example in the community. And at that moment I felt as though it was going to be our job to introduce this student to their infinite potential. To create opportunities and unveil how bright their future truly is. When our students graduate from The Winning Edge Leadership Academy, we want them to believe their career in sports has endless possibilities.

This student showed us why we were spending our entire Saturday conducting interviews. It is the kind of moment that we will remember and lean on in the coming months. We all know that keeping this nonprofit on track is our obligation to The Winning Edge class of 2016.