Herndon Game Changer Program begins fourth year

Shayla Benson

Marketing Intern

Informative Essay

16 November 2017

“Changing Outlooks, Changing Lives”: Herndon Game Changer Program

Youth outreach is taking the initiative to prepare younger generations to meet the challenges of adulthood and reach their full potential. Through leadership activities, engaging educational programs, youth outreach supports adolescents in developing: (a) the ability to analyze his or her own strengths and weaknesses, set personal and vocational goals, and build the self-esteem, confidence, motivation, and skills to carry them out (including establishing support networks in order to fully participate in community life and effect positive social change); and (b) the ability to guide or direct others on a course of action, influence the opinions and behaviors of others, and serve as a role model (Wehmeyer, Agran, & Hughes, 1998). A few prominent non- profit organizations who dedicate themselves to this work of social and professional development of young people include the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and The Urban League. Amongst those organizations is a burgeoning entrepreneurial training program in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia committed to equipping the next generation of young adults with the tools and practice that has proven to be effective for distinguished leaders and entrepreneurs – the Herndon Game Changer Program.

Founded in 2014, The Herndon Game Changer Program provides high school students in the Atlanta Metropolitan area with a year- round program that trains, educates, and encourages youth to recognize business opportunities and plan for successful futures. Meeting one Saturday a month from October to May, Game Changer students are given hands-on exposure and training from prominent CEOs and entrepreneurs in the Atlanta area. In addition to participating in community service, receiving access to a number of local corporate leaders, students are supported through presenting their personal business plans to a live audience of business leaders. As the Game Changers embark on their final year of high school, graduating seniors who have enrolled in college are eligible to receive scholarships to aid with their transition. As its fourth year has commenced, The Herndon Game Changer Program had their 2017- 2018 Program Orientation on Saturday, October 28, 2017 at the Herndon Home Mansion Museum where students learned about the life and legacy of the Program namesake, Alonzo Franklin Herndon.

Over the Game Changer Programs evolution, students have ranged from 14 to 18 years old, representing cities all across the City of Atlanta – from Douglas to Dekalb.  The highlight of every Game Changers program year is the culminating achievement and graduation ceremony. With student presentations being judged by well- known leaders and entrepreneurs in Atlanta, including Todd Zeldin, President & Founder of ACG Professionals, Amanda Williamson, Designer & Owner of Ennyluap, and Dr. Edward Davis, Dean of Clark Atlanta University’s School of Business, Game Changer students are afforded an opportunity to receive constructive criticism from real- world professionals and practice their presentation and critical thinking skills. Ceremony speakers have included included Keynote Speaker Councilman Kwanza Hall presenting a Proclamation on behalf of the City of Atlanta, declaring June 11, 2016 “Herndon Game Changers Day”, and Attorney Michael Thurmond, who actively engaged the students and inspired them to stay on track in their entrepreneurial journeys. The 2016-2017 class of Herndon Game Changers set a program record when graduating seniors received over $30,000 in scholarship funds to pursue their most ambitious dreams.

This year the Herndon Game Changer Program has continued to grow exponentially, accepting 54 juniors and seniors from 14 different schools in the Metro Atlanta area and the 2017-18 Program year holds an action- packed schedule for each of them. With sessions exploring entrepreneurship,leadership, and public speaking students will be exposed an exceptional opportunity that is few and far between, and specifically molded to produce our generation’s next big thing. The local business community is also engaged, and invited to participate in the program through formal business panels and volunteering alongside students during the annual community service day taking place at the Herndon Home Museum. Apart from the in- depth planning that makes this program possible, it is the community participation that heavily factors into the success of the program. Whether it is the array of volunteer guest speakers, or the community leaders who support the program with a financial investment, they are all doing their part to further the impact of entrepreneurship and continue the lasting legacy of Alonzo F. Herndon, creating the Game Changers of the next generation. The second Herndon Game Changer session for the 2017-2018 program is focused on Entrepreneurial tools and Skills and will take place Saturday, December 16th at the Dean Rusk YMCA. Business owners and entrepreneurs interested in learn more about the program and participating in the annual business panel can reach the Program Director at jwsmith@herndonhome.org.

Milton J. Little awarded Alonzo F. Herndon Lifetime Achievement Award

On Saturday October 21st, in front of a crowd of over 200 guest and sponsors, Milton J. Little Jr. President and CEO of the United Way of Greater Atlanta accepted the inaugural Alonzo Herndon Lifetime Achievement Award in a powerful speech.

Watch the video to join us as we salute Milton Little, inspirational community leader.

March 11, 2017 Book Signing: Atlanta and the Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1968

JOIN US FOR AN EVENING WITH DR. KARCHEIK SIMS-ALVARADO, historian, social activist, professor, speaker, author, and CEO of Preserve Black Atlanta.

The Alonzo F. and Norris B. Herndon Foundation is excited to host Dr. Sims-Alvarado, author of the newly published book, the Atlanta and the Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1968, with Arcadia Press, at a book signing on Saturday, March 11, 2017 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., at the Herndon Home Museum, 587 University Place NW, Atlanta, GA 30314.

Dr. Sims-Alvarado will read excerpts and sell signed copies of her newly released book Atlanta and the Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1968 and host a guided tour of the Historic Home Museum.

HURRY AND MAKE YOUR RESERVATION – TICKETS ARE GOING FAST! This is a rare opportunity to learn how African Americans have served as key protagonists in the rich and expansive narrative of American social protest. To learn more about Dr. Sims-Alvarado check out her biography here Dr Sims-Alvarado 2017

To reserve your ticket, go to https://herndonbooksigning.eventbrite.com

For more information, contact Program Director at 404.581.9813 or tours@herndonhome.org.








Atlanta, GA – February 16, 2017 – The Alonzo F. and Norris B. Foundation is pleased to announce Milton Little, President & CEO of United Way of Greater Atlanta, is the recipient of the Inaugural Alonzo F. Herndon Lifetime Achievement Award.  The official announcement came at a press conference on February 8, 2017 at the historic home of the late Alonzo F. Herndon, an emancipated slave who became Atlanta’s first black millionaire.

Little will receive his award at the Inaugural Game Changer Gala to be held at the Atlanta History Center on October 21, 2017.  The Herndon Game Changer Entrepreneurship Program provides a wide array of students from the Metro Atlanta Region a chance to learn entrepreneurship.  The program provides high school students, many of them from West and Southwest Atlanta, with intense year-round entrepreneurship instruction.  They receive hands-on training through active mentorship from vested business leaders, including CEO’s.

The Herndon Home is a National Historic Landmark and mansion located in Vine City, in sight of the new Mercedes Benz Stadium.

Little commented, “This is one those well kept secrets. You know, it’s hidden away in a part of Atlanta that people don’t visit. And who would know that a house could exist at the time it did, owned by an African American man and built by black craftsmen. The skill, the beauty, this is timeless.”

On receiving the award, Milton said this was a huge honor, “Anytime there is the word lifetime, you better take it seriously. Alonzo Herndon is a special figure in my own personal life. When I was young, my mother taught me black history at our kitchen table. Before I went out to play, I had a chapter that I had to go through in this book that she carried around with her. Alonzo Herndon was one of the chapters, the power of his life and what he was able to do in overcoming tremendous obstacles and amassing fortunes in so many different ways. To be associated with someone with that legacy, with that difference maker in his own personal life and story, it’s something special.”

Herndon Foundation Board Chairman, Roosevelt Giles, told the audience Herndon’s and Little’s accomplishments are so similar, “Both overcame circumstantial hurdles to achieve great things for the wider community…Milton is a social entrepreneur at heart. He was the first African American to run United Way (Of Greater Atlanta)… who better to receive this inaugural award?”

Elijah Fleming, 17 of Conyers, is currently enrolled in the Game Changer Program.  He spoke at the news conference and said “It’s going to help me later on in the future because I want to be a commercial pilot and then open my own airline service business.”

Photo descriptions:

  1. President & CEO of United Way of Greater Atlanta,  Milton Little, Jr., speaking about the personal meaning of receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award.
  2. Herndon Foundation Board Chairman, Roosevelt Giles, President & CEO of United Way of Greater Atlanta, Milton Little, Jr. and student Elijah Fleming chat in front of the bust of the late Alonzo F. Herndon.
  3. Herndon Foundation Chairman, Roosevelt Giles, President & CEO of United Way of Greater Atlanta, Milton Little, Jr. and student Elijah Fleming pose in front of the bust of the late Alonzo F. Herndon.

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The Atlanta Preservation Center presents Phoenix Flies

Visit the Herndon Home Museum during the Atlanta Preservation Center’s 13th annual The Phoenix Flies: A Celebration of Atlanta’s Historic Sites event, which provides an opportunity to learn about, celebrate, and strengthen Atlanta’s historic built environment of buildings, landscapes, and neighborhoods, to the benefit of all.

The Herndon Home Museum will offer free tours on the following dates and times:

Saturday, March 4, 2017, noon

Wednesday, March 15, 2017, noon

There are only 25 spots available for a tour each day, so please submit your reservation soon to 404.581.9813 or tours@herndonhome.org.


Support the Herndon Home Museum on Georgia Gives Day – 11.17.16

On Thursday, November 17, 2016, the Herndon Foundation will participate in a statewide crowdfunding effort – a “24-hour flash mob of giving” – called Georgia Gives Day (GGD). More of an outreach effort, the opportunity to participate will allow the Foundation to raise unrestricted funds toward a minimum $2,500 goal (we’d LOVE to GREATLY exceed the goal!!!), where nearly 100% of the donated funds will support the historic Herndon Home Museum.

We have a 5-point engagement strategy that we are using to activate participation; however, our biggest supporters and cheerleaders are YOU!

Our diverse community of supporters make all the difference in preserving and protecting the Herndon Home Museum and our legacy.

So, please click if you care! 

GAGivesDay 2016

July 15 Book Signing event with Ilyasah Shabazz

JOIN US FOR AN EVENING WITH ILYASAH SHABAZZ, community organizer, social activist, motivational speaker, author, and third daughter of Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz.

The Alonzo F. and Norris B. Herndon Foundation is excited to host Ms. Shabazz, author of award winning publications such as: Growing Up X (Random House 2002), a coming of age memoir; Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X (Simon & Schuster 2014), a children’s illustration book; and X, A Novel (Candlewick Press 2015) a young adult historical fiction book, at a book signing on Friday, July 15, 2016 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., at the Herndon Home Museum, 587 University Place NW, Atlanta, GA 30314. 

Ilyasah Shabazz will read excerpts and sell signed copies of all three of her award winning publications.

HURRY AND MAKE YOUR RESERVATION – TICKETS ARE GOING FAST! This is a rare opportunity to meet a descendant of one of the most important names in American history! To learn more about Ilyasah Shabazz check out her biography here.

To reserve your ticket, go to http://herndonhomemuseumhostxthenovel.eventbrite.com.

For more information, contact Jennifer Dobbs Hill, Executive Director, at 404.581.9813 or jdobbshill@herndonhome.org.


February 16 book Signing Event with Kenneth B. Morris, Jr.

JOIN US FOR AN EVENING WITH KENNETH B. MORRIS, JR., great, great, great grandson of Frederick Douglass and great, great grandson of Booker T. Washington.

On Tuesday, February 16, 2016 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Kenneth B. Morris, Jr., president of Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives (FDFI), will speak about his distinguished lineage and sign copies of the book, Picturing Frederick Douglass, at the Herndon Home Museum, 587 University Place NW, Atlanta, GA 30314.

Not only will attendees have the opportunity to purchase the beautiful hard copy, but they will also receive two signatures – his and that of his mother, Nettie Washington Douglass, the first to unite the two famous bloodlines, who will also be in attendance.


HURRY AND MAKE YOUR RESERVATION – TICKETS ARE GOING FAST! This is a rare opportunity to meet descendants of two of the most important names in American history!

To reserve your ticket, go to http://www.eventbrite.com/o/alonzo-f-and-norris-b-herndon-foundation-9734583405

For more information, contact Jennifer Dobbs Hill, Executive Director, at 404.581.9813 or jdobbshill@herndonhome.org.