Madison boys can join R.U.F.F. on Sept. 17

Boys in Madison can join a group on Sept. 17 that may make a big difference in their lives.

R.U.F.F. (Ready yoUrself For the Future) will conduct its 2012-2013 kickoff with a potluck dinner in the Discovery Middle School cafeteria from 6 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 17. Young men in elementary (grades 4-6) and middle (grades 7-8) school and their families are invited.

“My vision for R.U.F.F. is to foster the development of a lifelong, positive, successful male citizen of character,” founder Anthony Graham said. Graham organized the first R.U.F.F. chapter at Heritage Elementary School. He is now teaching seventh- and eighth-grade math at Discovery Middle School.

R.U.F.F.’s mission is to empower men to become outstanding leaders in their school and community.

For R.U.F.F. boys to achieve these goals, Graham and mentors help them focus on improving academic success, raising self-esteem and creating a positive self-image, exposing them to tangible role models, increasing positive behavior and establishing a community of responsibility.

The group has taken field trips and held fundraisers. In April 2011, R.U.F.F. held its Police and Fire Appreciation Luncheon and the next month raised more than $2,500 for tornado victims with Noodles for Neighbors. They met Chris Gardner, author of “Pursuit of Happyness,” at the United Way dinner in June 2011.

Last November, they held the first annual Turkey Bowl 5-on-5 Football Tournament. R.U.F.F. has held two leadership conferences — the last one at Raytheon. Forty boys worked on a clean-up service project at Camp ToKnowHim.

This summer, the R.U.F.F. boys visited Washington, D.C. and toured museums, saw landmarks and met politicians. “The trip’s purpose was to expose 42 young men to outstanding leaders in U.S. history and give them an opportunity they might never get to experience again,” Graham said.

Endorsing the organization, Capt. Russ Kennington with Madison Fire and Rescue Department, said, “I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to see (these boys) recognizing the importance of choice, and, more importantly, making choices that reflect positively on the group.”

For more information, call Graham at 256-652-1790, send email to agraham@madisoncity.k12.al.us or visit Facebook/Ready yourself for the future.

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