• 73°

Leading children by example

Many do not have enough time to do much else other than work (one or more jobs), children, family, etc. But for Larry “ASAP” Walker, aside from his job, his photography and his family, he dedicates a part of his day to lead by example to the youth of our community, mainly young children who are victims of circumstance.

Most of you know Walker as an employee for Vicksburg VTV, The River City Network. Some may know his photography. To some of us, he is a great friend, a husband, a father and a “big brother’ or “male figure” in the lives of some children.

“ASAP” is known as an abbreviation; “as soon as possible.” Walker uses “ASAP” as a part of his message to children; “Always Strive And Prosper.”

Walker wondered how he could help children overcome unfortunate surroundings and traumatic events they have suffered. He wanted to teach them what his parents taught him.

Walker’s parents instilled a set of standards in him with strong moral values in a structured environment.

Unfortunately, many children do not have a structured environment, or any leadership in their home life to know how to become a man, a man who protects his loved ones.

Walker does not want children to learn from television or from lyrics of a song. He feels children need an actual presence in their lives to show them how to be strong and confident. Some days Walker wears a suit to work, not because he has to, but “to show a new standard of attire that shows success through actions with a mindset of not settling for anything less.”

Walker worked as a counselor with the YMCA. He was not just any counselor; he was the counselor who developed relationships with parents and their children. He taught and guided children with life skills.

Walker was also a youth minister with Word of Faith Christian Center for five years. He assisted the youth pastors with activity classes, Bible classes and different events. As he counseled children, he encouraged them to pass on what they learned about the journey of life and how to prepare for life with their peers.

This only inspired Walker to do more.

He did not just counsel young men, but young girls as well; young girls who were victims of sexual assault; girls and boys who suffered emotional and physical abuse in their homes; children being bullied at school and peer pressure.

I asked Walker, at such young ages, how do you get these young children through these horrific traumas? “Mental peace,” he said.

Walker explained, “these children are so distraught that I try to bring mental peace to their specific traumatic event.” He also contacts the appropriate authorities depending on the case.

Through trust and faith, in most cases he is able to calm the children, give them hope that what they have endured does not determine their future life. Once the children understand that, they can understand not to be discouraged by what happened. 

Larry and Reva Walker have future plans to open after-school programs from kindergarten to high school.

Their hope is to give these children a structured environment that raises their standards of life. Assist them with their homework so they excel in school. Teach them about goals and have the mindset that any goal they set is possible. Encourage and mentor the children with strong moral values, life skills and organized recreation for children to participate in. Teach them about respect, how to present themselves with proper pronunciation when speaking, researching and education to achieve what they never thought possible. How they themselves can lead by example to their peers.

Walker had a clear message to the children of our community, “never settle for anything less than what you want and Always Strive and Prosper.”

 

Gina Hendrickson is a community columnist for The Vicksburg Post.