Embrace Race luncheon inspires Davenport youngsters to succeed

DAVENPORT - Alex McNeal, 13, is learning the fine art of networking.

The eighth grader at Wood Intermediate School is getting valuable experience outside the classroom.  For the future architect, it's designing a plan for success.

"It sounds kind of fun," he said, on Wednesday, November 28.  "We get to learn about our futures and talk to people that have been through this process before."

Some 60 students and mentors are participating in the Embrace Race luncheon.  It's an idea that grew out of the Quad Cities Big Table discussions.

"It might not have worked for mom or dad, but I can be the one that it does work for," said Mentor Tymon Vesey.  "I can break that cycle."

St. Ambrose University is the setting for this unique business meeting.  Participants dress up and interact with local leaders.

For Malakhai Carter, 14,  there's an infusion of optimism.

"It's actually really important," he said.  "It's basic life skills that we need for the rest of our lives to get jobs."

Tracy White, who started the Well Suited program as a one-time event three years ago, continues to find it provides positive role models and experiences for African-American boys.

"There are people in their community who want them to succeed, want them to be great, want them to stay here and work here," she said.

For Alex McNeal, creating hope for the future.

"If I follow in their steps and what they did, I can also try to improve myself," he concluded.

In Davenport, it sounds like what a community is all about.