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5 MINUTES WITH...
Board Member Derwin Bradley

March 23, 2024

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By:  Jatika Hudson

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Nearly nine years after Derwin Bradley gave his “yes”, to serve on the MAN UP Mentoring, Inc. [MAN UP] board of directors, he is still playing a vital role on the board of the organization that’s changing the lives and minds of Orlando’s at-risk youth. As a 28-year veteran law enforcement officer whose job it is to maintain and uphold the law, his invitation to the board came in a somewhat unconventional way.

While visiting a local Publix, MAN UP executive director, Samantha Wallace initiated a conversation and exuberantly shared information about the new organization with him. After hearing her pitch, he agreed to serve on their board and to better his community by changing the lives, minds, and opening doors for young people.

As a lifelong citizen of Orlando, a military veteran, and retired Master Police Officer, he’s witnessed many unfortunate and avoidable situations. This is why he understands and values transformational-- leadership, training, and direction. Being a mentor for the Workforce Academy and to junior officers as well as being on MAN UP’s board, has changed the trajectory of his life as a public servant. “Being a mentor has helped me be more patient and compassionate,” he says. “I also learn as I guide and teach the people that I mentor.”

In this new Q&A Series, Bradley tells us what keeps his dedication to MAN UP and the youth they serve, their impact, as well as his hopes for the organization’s future.

MAN UP: Why do you support or believe in this organization?

Derwin Bradley: I think that their work is sincere and that they truly believe in uplifting the children they serve.

MU: In what way would you like to see the growth of MAN UP evolve?

DB: Of course, I would like to see the program grow to the greater Orlando metro area, and eventually nationwide.

MU: How does MAN UP lift up youth and families in the Orlando community?

DB: MAN UP educates, advises, and encourages young people to expand their horizons in all areas of their lives. To lift up our families, we recently hired a Parent Engagement and Social Services Coordinator. We know that supported parents/guardians can better support their children.

MU: How would you like to see the organization’s mentees change the trajectory of their communities?

DB: I would like to see our young people practice what is being taught to them so they can be an example and encourage their peers to participate.

MU: How has your community perspective changed or shifted after volunteering with MAN UP?

DB: It has not changed. I grew up in the [Ivey Lane Homes] community and have served in it for more than 20 years. Many fine citizens have come out of that community. MAN UP is a great step forward.

MU: How is MAN UP different from other youth organizations you've worked with or served?

DB: I think that MAN UP provides a more intimate and intensive mentoring approach to getting the message to our young people.

MU: As a board member, how will you help MAN UP achieve their strategic goals?

DB: I will support the initiatives and look for opportunities for the organization to grow and be successful.

MU: What do you see for this organization in the future?

DB: I see a greater local and national footprint and more great work done for and by our young people.

MU: In six words or less, describe the overall significance of MAN UP in this community and the lives of the mentees?

DB: Exposing mentees to the global community.

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