I didn't like what I was seeing growing up in middle school. I saw a nine-year-old with a gun, and he was ready to shoot somebody. There were a lot of kids who didn't have positive male role models to look up to. That's when I knew I wanted to do something to give kids the opportunity to have that father figure.
Four years ago, we founded Connect to Greatness, a nonprofit to help boys of color overcome negative stereotypes and become leaders of their generation.
Many time we do introductions with the group. I tell them, ‘Hey, I'm coach Cartier Scott, and I'm the math Messiah. I'm the greatest math person you'll ever see, and my main focus for this group is to let them know it's OK to be smart.
It just made sense … this is what I was born to do: Getting in touch with these boys and their moms, exposing them to alternatives, showing them that there's more to life other than sports and video games.
For all our boys that graduate high school, what I want to see from them is for them to go where they want to go and pursue what they want to pursue. But also to give back—come back to Connect to Greatness and become a mentor and teach the boys about what they've been through and tell them what they've seen in the program.
My vision for Connect to Greatness is to keep growing, impacting the lives of all the people in the community and to have people that live here turn around and impact their communities the way that we did.