During All-Star Weekend, I had the opportunity to serve the LeBron James Family Foundation as a 330 Ambassador with community service and professional development in Charlotte, North Carolina. The goal of All-Star Weekend is to recognize a city that needs help in the community and school systems and turn it around with service from Akron students. Each year a new city is chosen to host All-Star Weekend to help the residents start living a normal life again.
This year, we provided Charlotte’s residents love through working with Samaritan’s Feet to provide 400 pairs of brand-new shoes to students at a school called the Movement School, similar to the I Promise School. There we engaged with the students through washing their feet and having empowering conversations with the mindset that they need clean feet & a happy attitude for them to really enjoy having new shoes that are from LeBron. This was also possible through our XBOX 2K foundation friends who sponsored most of the shoes.
In addition, we had the chance to participate in a panel discussion and tour with the Carolina Panther’s behind-the-scenes team, who are the driving forces to successful football. With a lawyer, reporters, operation managers, and communication experts in the room, we as 330 Ambassadors heard their stories of climbing the corporate ladder through grit and to remember to always be “unapologetically to yourself.” I remember profoundly one woman saying that “chances are just luck, timing, and God’s grace” which reminds me to not just let an opportunity go - grab it and showcase my grit. However, the main focal point of it all is when the equipment manager spoke how he used to “fold over 800 towels a day” and someone else made the clear distinction that everyone has those days before they made it big.
The experience is not just a trip for us to enjoy, it is a mission to employ our newfound lessons to the work being done in Akron with the I Promise School and the Embassy, our own space for mentoring students in the school. After the trip, I felt empowered to keep moving forward with every commitment I engage in because these programs will and has already improved my character and my future. Connecting it with AASEP, I thought about my role as a ‘non-engineering yet love engineering’ student in a firm. My goal has always been to be a member of the design process and the ‘business side of the house’ ensuring the project is effectively & efficiently being marketed to consumers. Through All-Star weekend, it cemented that the networking and communications skills of individuals are essential to success and firms will always need someone like me to coordinate their activities in the mindset of the consumer.
The reason I joined AASEP is for the transferrable skills that STEM principles emphasize. Yet, I know I have a lot to showcase outside of the engineering sphere with my background in education, communications, and business. Moving forward into a firm, I want to demonstrate a different perspective to the whole mix of engineers that may enlighten their thought-processes. LJFF has made me clear of my direction and AASEP will provide the tools to present it. All-Star Weekend with the LeBron James Family Foundation was an opportunity to professionally and personally develop through community action, 21st-century skill improving sessions, and bridging the experience to impacting Akron to be a stronger & striving community for all.
By: Aaron Brown