Young men making a difference in their community

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By Alexia King / Special to Viewpoints

Happiness ( The Brotherly Love program)

By Alexia King / Special to Viewpoints

While drugs, sex and crime continue to be problems with today’s youth, three Riverside community activists figured out a way to solve them.

Lance Penland, 21, Ge’Ray Adkins, 21, and Gentre Adkins IV, 29, are the founders of Brotherly Love, a program established in 2010 in Riverside.

“I wanted to create a program to treat the problem itself, and the problem is the lack of love,” said Gentre.

Ge’Ray described the program as a way to aid kids from elementary to high school with the problems they face in the community.

 “Brotherly love promotes the idea of sharing with one another; not looking at the color of your skin, but looking at your heart,” Gentre said.

Penland, Ge’Ray and Gentre describe themselves as three individuals that desire a change in the community.

That change is to help kids and even adults realize that the many problems with our youth does not come from irresponsibility, but from the lack of love.

“Our strength with the program is our ability to sit down and take the information that the school or community center gives us and create something that is powerful, awesome and motivating for the young people,” said Gentre.

Brotherly Love has reached out to schools with assemblies, leadership training, and inspirational productions.

Each of their activities helps show kids love in many ways, which they can redistribute to their peers.

“Our tact line for the program is ‘see it, experience it, produce it,'” Gentre said.

Instead of the common lecture assemblies for drug abuse or problems in their home, kids are put into mock situations such as court cases or talk shows.

There they discuss with one another any problem they face, which helps kids learn how to cooperate and also learn about their peers around them.

Having a background of family and friends who showed both Penland and Gentre an immense amount of love, they decided to take that love and disperse it back to the children of their community.     

However, the love isn’t only being passed down from their family but also to each other.

With Gentre being heavily influenced by his parents, Penland in return sees Gentre as his role model.

 With their strong ability to confide in each other, these young men are not afraid to share their problems with others.

 In fact, being vulnerable and open to others is one of the key tactics they use to help children understand that no matter what, everyone goes through hardships, including the staff themselves.

The kids involved in their program go from receiving love from their Brotherly Love staff, to experiencing it with one another throughout the many different activities.

Lastly they are challenged to go out and produce it.

“That means go out and whatever love you felt, however it inspired or motivated you, go out there and do that for someone else,” Gentre said.

The purpose of the program is to change the lives of children by showing them love, but not only are they gaining it, all three brothers receive it back.

“They give me the motivation to keep going in life,” Ge’Ray said.

 “They bring me hope; they show me that everyone has the potential to be positive,” Gentre said.

Future plans are in the making for Brotherly Love as it progresses. Gentre not only wants to put together plans to globalize the project, but he also plans to make a valid effort to turn the company into a 501c3 (a non-profit organization).

Gentre’s plan is to spread love with as many kids as he can, no matter what it takes or where it may take him.

By paying their dues in the community at a fairly young age, these young men continue their quest to show children of all communities love.

So that they can see it, experience it and produce it.

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