Clearwater Urban Leadership Coalition hosts Young Men’s Leadership Initiative with SAVE Institute

The Clearwater Urban Leadership Coalition (CULC) hosted the SAVE Institute during a day-long presentation of health and wellness workshops on March 9 for youths 12-18.

BY J.A. JONES | Staff Writer

CLEARWATER — In March, the Clearwater Urban Leadership Coalition (CULC) hosted the SAVE Institute during a day-long presentation of health and wellness workshops for the community held at the Pinellas County African American History Museum.

The SAVE Institute’s “Florida Young Men’s Leadership Initiative: Empower Summit” was aimed at youth ages 12-18. Atiba Jones, founder and executive director of the SAVE Institute, was on hand with a team to lead the youth in a series of presentations, discussions, and exercises.

“SAVE Institute is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that has the mission to save and uplift Black male youth from cycles of poverty, crime, incarceration and lack of purpose through engagement in its four pillars,” shared Jones.

The four pillars, he noted, make up the acronym of SAVE: Service, Agriculture, Vocational Training and Entrepreneurship. “I officially founded SAVE in 2019 and have been focused on this mission ever since. SAVE has three primary components of our services: outreach programs, a 7-12th grade private school and vocational apprenticeship for young adults.”

Jones shared that the summit is just one of SAVE’s outreach programs nationally. “The benefit of these types of programs is that Black male youth can receive both the necessary skills and inspiration that will help them to lead their lives in a positive direction rather than turning to many of the negative paths that many of our youth have turned to.”

Rowland Johnson, a member of the CULC team, noted that coalition members discussed the program and contacted the organization for more information after hearing about it. They felt it was relevant to the youth population the Clearwater coalition is trying to reach in the North Greenwood community.

“Due to the negative events with our Black male youth in the community, it is our responsibility to expose them to as many positive experiences as possible,” Johnson stated. He added that if events like the summit touched even one of the youth participants, he would “consider it a success” and called the work the SAVE team was doing to guide the youth to their full potential to be commended.

Also on hand that day were local experts, instructors and community and financial health practitioners, including Zaneta Ellison of New Vision Behavioral Health, Bryan Voliton of Greenwood Grove and the Mangrove Experience, Financial Fitness by Chaikirah Parker of TLC Sunshine Financial, Parenting with a Purpose, facilitated by Freddie Barton of Safe & Sound, as well as a vocational training presentation by Brent Dawkins of First Rung.

Ellison, whose organization is located in St. Pete and also provides services in North Greenwood, Tampa, and Texas, held a mental health and wellness workshop for adults during the day. She was enthusiastic about SAVE Institute’s intervention.

“I think it’s vital — the pillars that they focus on are relevant to community development,” she noted, stressing the importance of bringing that awareness to young boys. Ellison said she also appreciated SAVE Institute’s mentorship, career path and entrepreneurial encouragement the SAVE team brought. She noted that mentorship is a protective factor when working with young people dealing with difficult circumstances and environments.

CULC executive director Gloria Campbell noted that the coalition felt it was essential to bring SAVE Institute because “we recognized there was an important group in the community we could not connect with; none of our outreach drew them in. SAVE had a way to connect and empower the 12-18-year-old African-American males. Our desire to have a thriving community by 2030 depends on getting this group engaged.”

To learn more about SAVE Institute and its initiatives, visit

One Reply to “Clearwater Urban Leadership Coalition hosts Young Men’s Leadership Initiative with SAVE Institute”

  1. Muhammad Abdur-Rahim says:

    This coverage of the Clearwater Urban Leadership Coalition and the partnerships with SAVE Institute show a great example of how to reach our youth…

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