Rotarian C.J. Stewart presented Devon Clinkscales, a former Rotary Interact Club member and L.E.A.D. Ambassador, former student-athlete and graduate of Booker T. Washington High School (2020), and current Coach (staff member) at L.E.A.D., who shared with us an unvarnished and powerful presentation about his life, his dreams, and his assessment of the organizations that seek to help combat homelessness in our city.
Devon grew up in Atlanta’s Pittsburg neighborhood. By age 9, Devon had developed into a very smart kid who was beloved by many of his teachers. In fact, around this time, Devon was chosen to recite the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at an event attended by his teachers, school staff, and parents.
Now 19, Devon has matured and learned a great deal from life’s trials and tribulations. And while he admitted that he has not always been able to resist some of the bad temptations present in his neighborhood, he shared that he has learned to be open about his life struggles and to use the value of lessons he's learned to do big things and make a better life for his family. Given his life experiences, humility, and desire to help others, it’s easy to see why C.J. and Kelli brought Devon on board at L.E.A.D., as Devon will no doubt make a significant impact on L.E.A.D. program participants.
Devon has big plans for his future—his goal is to obtain his real estate license and to open his own real estate agency. He is also very interested in learning about the stock market and investing. Devon, true to his humble nature, shared that he wants to achieve these goals not for his own personal satisfaction, but to help his family. Some day, he would like to help his family members start their own businesses, and to obtain generational wealth for the Clinkscales bloodline.
Devon shared with us his first-hand experiences with the many community organizations that seek to end or mitigate the effects of a tragic American experience---homelessness. In the past, Devon’s family became homeless and looked to a variety of community organizations for help. Devon explained that while he appreciates these organizations and their important missions, he thinks they fail to make a significant dent in the homelessness crisis. He shared with us that his family expected to have open lines of communication with these organizations but discovered the harsh reality that some of these organizations could provide his family with only limited support and services. Devon also expressed his concern that the government is not doing enough to help the homeless. For example, Devon shared that waiting periods for government-subsidized housing often leaves folks with few housing options.
Devon shared that while he is trying his best to support his family, they unfortunately continue to struggle financially. In that respect, he noted that his family members are always looking for work. He asked AWER club members to keep his family in mind and to reach out to him with any and all employment opportunities. We thank Devon for sharing his story and valuable perspective and look forward to hearing from Devon in the near future!
Devon Clinkscales on Linked In