We’re glad you asked! Many times throughout the year we get approached by people wanting to help further the reach of Uncommen and help us reach men around the world. The amount of encouraging feedback we receive from people is staggering and makes us take this God-sized task all the more serious. After all, we are wanting to bring God Glory, encourage men to be the Husband, Dad, and Leader they were always meant to be and have some fun while we do it.
As for the day-to-day activities in the Uncommen studio, it’s meetings, creative ideas and lots of coffee. But we wanted to list some things that we are in need of in 2018, so you could be praying about it and asking God how He’d like to you get involved with Uncommen right where you are.
I was born and raised in New Orleans and spent 38+ years of my life there. Any good Cajun knows Hurricane season runs June through November. We usually have to evacuate the area at least once a season for an unplanned overnight stay in the region. But having gone through Katrina and having been an evacuee, I understand completely what the people in Houston are going through. You think it’s just another storm that will not be as bad as the weather man is saying. Get some sandwich stuff, water, candles and ice for the igloo and you’ll be set when the power comes back on.
That doesn’t always happen. When my wife and then two young boys left for Katrina, we didn’t know we’d not back for over 5 months. That’s when the act of selling our house took place as we were now living clear across the country in Arizona. The people of Houston and the surrounding area are in for a big life change. For the first 2 weeks after the storm hit, life was about needing clothes, underwear, toothbrushes, socks, luggage, money and much much more. We were spending time at Red Cross Shelters discussing what the plan was for the foreseeable future. Were we going back home? The Levee had broken and at the time, we didn’t know if our house was even still standing. We packed what we could in our Mini-van, but that hardly is enough to start a life over again.
We wanted to reach out to our current and future audience with some information about our newsletter and our goal to provide you with Uncommen content. We’ve noticed a couple of “Did not sign-up for list” or “No longer interested” entries on the reports. We only want to deliver content to those who want to get it. So here we go…
We’ve spent several years creating, revising, and maintaining the Uncommen App. After investing over $100,000 into the App, we had to make a hard decision whether to keep investing or put development on hold. We decided to put it on hold for a year or so to determine the demand for an app and how best to fund the continual costs for updates and maintenance.
During the last year, we have also been developing our website presence for Uncommen Charters around the country/world, the Uncommen store, developing additional content, and seeking Sponsorships. We develop weekly blogs and every other month we develop a Bible study that can be found on the Holy Bible/YouVersion App. As you can tell, there are multiple channels we are using to try to encourage men to invest in their key relationships.
Incredible. As I do a year review, incredible is how I describe 2015 for UNCOMMEN. We started out with the dream of affecting myriads of families by launching, “a mobile app to combat the jacked up dad stats.” After launching our app, and receiving great applause in our home city, Charlotte, NC, we began to shift our efforts to creating consistent content and partnering with organizations to unify our efforts to make a bigger impact. To our delight, it seems to be working! So moving into our second year, our prayer is that we can do more- more of what we do with more partners to affect more lives. We could not have done any of what was accomplished in 2015 without your help.
Thank you. Looking forward to another incredible year!
If you follow UNCOMMEN on Twitter or Facebook, you may know that over the summer UNCOMMEN had a meeting in Cabinet Affairs Office of the White House. I had the privilege of bringing my family with me as we met with three representatives of the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Initiative to share how UNCOMMEN is engaging the MBK call to action in Charlotte and across the US. If you are unfamiliar with My Brother’s Keeper, you can read the entire program description here. In a nutshell, the President issued a call to cities all across America to implement strategies to improve the life outcomes of young men of color across America. We have also partnered with the Mayor’s office in Charlotte to uncover more ways to encourage mentoring opportunities for men, and so our meeting with the White House was to find out how we can help this effort on a national level as well.
So yes, you heard it right, not only did we met with the White House, this summer we also met with the Mayor Dan Clodfelter in Charlotte and are exploring many coordinated efforts to encourage male involvement in the academic success of kids. Exciting stuff, right?
The sociologist in me loves exploring the connections between cause and effect. The MBK call to action outlines the disparities in education, exposure to the juvenile justice system, and disparities in employment for young men of color in America. The initiative also makes the bold yet accurate claim that if intervention is not made, then there will continue to be adverse affects on our economy. It makes me we want to tweet the President, #iseewhatyoudidthere.
Many may not understand how the conditions that youth of color face directly affect them until we start talking about the economy. Yes, the billions of dollars spent on physical and emotional health services as well as the judicial system. Yes, there is a clear correlation between social conditions and long-term opportunity. At UNCOMMEN, the message we are bringing to many is a simple one – maintain the stability of the family, and most of these problems go away. When a man wins, a family wins, when families win (husbands, wives, and kids), society wins. Our role in My Brother’s Keeper is on the top-level, in the preventative services department, if you will. And we also sense the responsibility to encourage men to step in to fill the gaps of the 24 million fatherless homes in America. An easy way for men to do that is by serving as role models.
Let’s be clear, the UNCOMMEN organization is a cause, our app is just one of our components. It’s a tool that men can use to encourage and challenge one another; but like any tool, it is limited without opportunity to use it. For instance, my Ryobi power drill has been used more in the past 2 months than ever before. This is mainly because we bought a new house, and my wife has pointed out so many opportunities to hang fixtures and assemble furniture! It’s always been a great tool, now I have an excuse to use it. Same with the UNCOMMEN app. It’s great for fathers, but also for fathers to be and father figures. We simply want to explore more opportunities to use the UNCOMMEN tool to help men succeed at being the men they were always meant to be.
Call to Action
Back in 2006, I had only been married for a couple of years; and was a leader in my job and church, yet I felt very lacking in my community engagement. So one day I walked over to a local high school and asked them if they had any after school tutoring or mentoring programs for me to volunteer in. To my surprise, they had just started a weekly discussion group on character building. With my background in college ministry, they thought I would be a fit for leading those discussions. I had the time of my life getting to know those students, and engaging them on social and personal topics. I didn’t know how much of an impact I was making, or that it would ultimately shape my future career path. I just knew that I wanted and needed to be there. Male involvement in schools and after school programs is a real need. My suggestion to the men out there, take the step of knocking on a few doors and find out if you can share your life lessons with the youth in your community. You can make a bigger impact than you think.