Reed Foundation hosts leadership workshop

Published 10:30 am Tuesday, October 4, 2022

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The Reed Foundation held a Leadership Summit on Saturday with guest speakers former NFL players Alec Ogletree and David Rocker and arena league player Desmond Reece. 

“We just want to give them some good traits, not just in athletics,” said Director of Community Engagement Clifton Autry. “And we need to continue to be that confident hope in the community, helping young people.”

Executive Director Torrance Rudd and Director of Community Engagement Clifton Autry ran the Leadership Summit that focused on teaching youth about the key elements of becoming successful leaders. The three speakers spoke about the importance of education, work ethic and faith.

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Rocker went to Fulton High school in Atlanta ,before playing for Auburn University as an All-American. He was drafted to the Rams in 1991 as a defensive tackle. 

A native of Valley, Alabama, Reece first played for Valley High school. After high school, he was a wide receiver for Tuskegee University, and later he joined for the Columbus Lions.

Ogletree from Newnan, Georgia, played football for the University of Georgia before being drafted in the first rounds for the St. Louis Rams. He later played for the New York Giants and New York Jets.

Rocker touched on three main points for success: Focus on your education, stay coachable throughout your life and get to know who you are. He also spoke about his own journey discovering the importance of education. 

He told a story from when he was in high school. His mother took him off the football team because he wasn’t planning on going to college. He was only off of the team for one day before he changed his mind about college.

“One day changed my life,” Rocker said during the presentation. “In that one day, it made me recognize that more so than sports, getting an education had to become a priority.”

Ogletree and Reece both agreed with Rocker’s argument. Reece spoke about how the use of drugs affected his drive and, consequently, his career.

“From ninth grade all the way to my junior year in college, it was the drugs that was blocking my mind,” Reece said. “I couldn’t see past when the next blunt was coming.”

Growing up in church, Reece also spoke on the responsibility that each person has to their relationship with God. 

“It’s on us how we allow him to function in our lives,” Reece said.

Ogletree added that everyone has the opportunity to be successful at what they want as long as they fight for it. 

“​​Everybody got the opportunity to do what they want to do,” Ogletree said. “At some point, you’ll get the opportunity to do what you want to do. What you do with that opportunity, that’s up to you.”

The Reed Foundation is a nonprofit organization that focuses on outreach for local youth and seniors, according to the organization’s website.

“Our founder, Mr. Cameron Reed, really felt it was necessary for our younger generation just to give them some sources and different things to help them be successful in this area,” Autry said.

The foundation also provides a scholarship program and a mentorship program for students in the Lanett area. It also provides services to local seniors as well. 

“This is just one of the things that we’re starting to do to be out in the community and to help make a difference there,” Autry said.