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West Side teen chosen to read book excerpt

Actor Malik Yob(standing with microphone) watches as “Unconditional Forgiveness” author Sedrik Newbern shows West Side Leadership Academy student DerriShelt17 page

Actor Malik Yoba (standing with microphone) watches as “Unconditional Forgiveness” author Sedrik Newbern shows West Side Leadership Academy student Derrion Shelton, 17, a page to read from the book. | Photo provided

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West Side Leadership Academy student Derrion Shelton, 17, got an impromptu lesson in public speaking when he attended a book-signing event for “Unconditional Forgiveness” author Sedrik Newbern at the Glen Theater.

Shelton said later that he’d seen the movies “Cool Runnings” and the Tyler Perry movies, “Why Did I Get Married?” and “Why Did I Get Married Too?” and the Lifetime Channel’s “Betty and Coretta.” So he was a bit nervous about standing on stage with Newbern and the celebrity guest who called on him to read an excerpt from Newbern’s book.

That celebrity guest was Malik Yoba, one of the stars of those four movies. “I was highly nervous when Malik called me to the stage. But he directed and encouraged me throughout the entire time I read,” Shelton said.

Shelton was one of 25 teens who sat in the Glen Theater auditorium listening to Newbern and Yoba speak on forgiveness and relationships between a father and a child.

“Unconditional Forgiveness” is Newbern’s story of forgiving his father 18 years after divorcing his mother and missing out on many turning points in Newbern’s life.

Just as in his book, Newbern maintained the importance of fathers being in their children’s lives, whether married or divorced from their mothers.

“I was blessed that my mother allowed me to have a relationship with my father,” he said.

Newbern, who is married and has a 5-year-old son, vows to be the family man that his father was not.

Yoba, a father of three, said one of his biggest fears was being separated from his oldest child.

“Prayer, a lot of prayer, is what brought me through,” he said.

Newbern and Yoba shared advice on growing and enriching their lives and the importance of education academically, mentally and spiritually.

Newbern’s book is available at www.sedriknewbern.com.

Congratulations to Urban League of Northwest Indiana President and CEO Vanessa Allen as the National Urban League recognized her affiliate was one of three most improved Urban League affiliates.

Allen was appointed to lead the Northwest Indiana affiliate Jan. 1, 2010 after the death of long-time president and CEO Eloise Gentry.

Allen is also reaching out to high school seniors seeking scholarships by reminding them of available scholarships from area organizations.

Scholarships range from $500 to $2,000 each. Application deadline is March 15; visit the Urban League of Northwest Indiana, 3101 Broadway, Gary, or call 887-9621, email info@urbanleagueofnwi.org, or visit www.urbanleagueofnwi.org.



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