Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Great Suit, a Great Haircut, a Trip Outside the Neighborhood, and the Vice President

Jason Page, Men Can Stop Rape’s Director of Community Education, attended Vice President Biden’s 17th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) with two Men of Strength (MOST) Club members - Ernest, an eighth grader at Jefferson Middle School, and Josh, a senior at Ballou Senior High School.

Jason describes the experience of taking Ernest and Josh to the Vice President’s house:

Ernest actually had a run-in with the Vice President. The reception took place in Vice President Biden’s back yard, and after he spoke and was walking toward the house for pictures, he complimented Ernest on his haircut and suit. Ernest barely could say thank you he was so shocked. The Vice President shook his hand and asked him his name and then the Secret Service ushered him into the house. Ernest, Josh, and myself went and got in the line to have our picture taken with him. When the three of us got to the front of the line, of course Vice President Biden remembered Ernest from just 10 minutes ago and said to his wife, “Honey, I just met this young man outside. Doesn’t he have a great suit and a great haircut?”

The rest of the evening Ernest had a smile on his face from ear-to-ear, and he thanked me. I know that this was something very special and important to him. I spoke to his mother about it a couple days later, and she thanked me and the organization for giving him the opportunity and said that he had been talking about it a lot around the house.

Josh enjoyed himself; it was great to hear him talk to some other people at the reception about what the MOST Club is, how it is at Ballou High School. I was proud to hear him speak of it the way he did. When you’re in a different setting sometimes you wonder how the guys will explain the Club. What he said wasn’t surprising to me, but it made me feel good. After dropping him off at his house following the reception, Josh sent me a text saying he really appreciated me picking him to go. The next day while we were talking about recruiting new MOST Club members, he mentioned that even though he’s from DC, he’d never been to that part of the city before. It’s a different world to him. That touched me. You can be born and raised in the nation’s capital and never even see the northwest side or never see certain parts, living in the neighborhood he’s from. So I know that meant a lot to him. Days later he’s still talking about it.

He’s going to share his experience with the other guys at Ballou, and I’m definitely going to use him this year when other opportunities like this come up. We look for those guys who will always be there when we call on them to help us out, and at the same time give them those great experiences. I know Josh and Ernest feel more like they’re part of the MOST Club now. Things like this give them a little extra boost, and that’s what our young men need at times. Share

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