The Ascension ProjectThe Ascension Project

Current Reports from the Field

Past efforts to offer perspectives from contributing educators, school leaders and other youth development professionals have focused on a broad range of topics. Poverty, the absence of fathers, failing and poorly resourced schools, public policy initiatives that are unable to gain meaningful traction and a host of other contributing factors that continue to disrupt the lives of our boys have been areas of concern expressed by many. Somehow, though, we cannot seem to muster the will to secure for our boys the trajectories that they so clearly deserve.

TAP’s founder, Brad Zervas, has had a long career addressing many of these very same issues. Recently, he spent six months on the Island of Eleuthera in The Bahamas and at the invitation of the Island School. His efforts lead to an international conference attended by local, regional and global leaders. The conference theme, “Purposing Our Boys With A Brighter Future”, attracted speakers and presenters from as far away as the United Kingdom, New York, Pittsburg and from many of the surrounding islands. In the end, conference attendees were engaged in deeply moving testimony. They were then provided with examples of what can be achieved when the right forces for good are aligned; properly funded and supported; and then allowed to execute with efficiency, discipline, rigor and kindness.

The conference fact sheet and conference schedule illustrate just how ambitious the initiative was and its success has resulted in a newly formed coalition of local and regional leaders now connected to a broader network of international supporters. David Banks, CEO & President of The Eagle Foundation, Shawn Dove, CEO of The Campaign for Black Male Achievement, Ray Lewis, Founder and Executive Director of the Eastside Leadership Academy, Tavarrie Smith, ESQ and Founder of Project Youth, Bill Strickland, CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation and Pastor Lincoln Young of the Church of Christ contributed their time and led discussions that resonated across social, racial, economic, cultural and religious dominions. In short, their message focused on what could be and not what is and was. They demonstrated that with a clear vision, with the restoration of families, the willingness to abide by specific codes of behavior that all of our boys can be given a fighting chance – a chance at manhood and a chance to serve as community leaders, husbands, fathers and grandfathers.

Not long after the conference and after his return to the United States, TAP Founder, Brad Zervas, published a book, “They Are All Our Sons” that chronicles a life in the service of others and proposes very specific principles supported by concrete examples that can help to ignite our boys and place them on firm ground from which to grow. The accompanying literary endorsements speak for themselves and should be enough to encourage others to engage with this very insightful testimony and reading.

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