Dwight James, III
“At the Urban League, I was doing something for others that was bigger than me.”
Dwight moved to Jacksonville, FL from Cleveland, OH with his grandparents. He says, “I was really homesick and I didn’t really have an external support system as soon as I got home.” In middle school, he was introduced to Sandra Parker who was the advisor of the NULITES program which is National Urban League Incentives to Excel and Succeed. Dwight said, “going to the Urban League the first day was really welcoming and I made a lot of friends.” One of the first things he got the chance to do was attend a conference for Crime Prevention in the Black Community in Miami, FL where he shares “I learned a lot about crime and crime prevention. I learned ways to be active in my community that I never even knew before. It was an amazing way to be introduced to the Urban League community.”
Now with the Urban League, Dwight tutors students, is active in community service, and helps organize events with Ms. Parker. As a sophomore in high school, he had the opportunity to help organize a 5k run. This experience left him feeling empowered, recalling,” the cool thing was I got to see a lot of people smile that day.” He says, “it was making me more aware of my impact. For a long time, I had been shown that kids can’t make a difference, so being with the UL I wanted to make sure I was making a difference in everything I was doing like helping out students, mentoring, doing community service, and some days just hanging out with kids at summer camp. It was always fun because I knew I had an influence and that I was doing something bigger than me.” Dwight elaborates, “I want to ensure that I am influencing someone to chase their dreams and to ensure that they’re not giving just fifty percent and that they are giving a hundred ten million percent.” Dwight notes, “what really stuck with me is that is that no matter what was going on, I made sure someone was being impacted in a positive way. I think that infectious aura that got onto me is spread throughout the Urban League.”
Dwight describes how the Urban League impacted him with “inexpressible joy”. He has “this expectation of always moving forward and that’s what has kept me going.” He has received a scholarship for college from the Urban League, and it means so much more to him because “I grew up in the Urban League, a place that has basically helped raise me. It is really warming to me because Urban League has given me a vision of who I can be, and they have equipped me with a multitude of things that cannot be replaced, so I am really humble for what the Urban League has done for me.”
Next Dwight is off to attend Florida State University where he will be studying chemical engineering and creative writing. Dwight shares, “a lot of people have told me I’m crazy and some people have told me it’s impossible,” but he believes in himself. He says to set high expectations, as long as he tries then he can have no regrets. He hopes to work for NASA and/ or the government one day as well as see his poems published in literary magazines.
Dwight recommends everyone try out the Urban League, even if you think you don’t need it, because it equips you for the future, it stretches you to critically think, to be quick on your feet, and to open your heart.