By Butch Dublin, Jr.
Staff Writer Prepbuilders.com
Delray Beach-Andre Thaddies is a man with a distinct purpose and a clear vision. The Delray Beach resident and Atlantic High School graduate (1987) is looking to make a major difference in the community he grew up in.
Thaddies began his football coaching career at Atlantic High School beginning in 2001 when he started out of as an assistant until 2006-2010 when he led the Eagles as head coach. He knows and fully understands that the young men in south county area need leadership, guidance, and mentorship if they plan to navigate the tough challenges that are ahead of them in the future. It seems as though Thaddies has created the perfect vehicle to make his effort to give back to the community a true reality.
Connect to Greatness is a non-profit organization that targets African American boys to envision their reality and become change makers in the world. “We empower them as we promote academics, community accountability and responsibility. It is important that our kids learn at a young age that their reality is not defined by just football, basketball, or baseball.” Thaddies said.
“Interestingly enough, Connect to Greatness will recruit men to serve as coaches to the boys in the program. Choosing to engage men as coaches instead of mentors we believe: 1)This strategy resonates more with the communities and the population we are serving. 2) This approach captures the essence of what we will be doing, teaching the boys fundamentals of what it takes to become great men.” Thaddies said.
Thaddies has two sons who have also graduated from Atlantic High School and are attending college at FAMU in Tallahassee, Florida. He understands that many of the kids his organization is targeting come from single parent homes and different environments that do not always produce the best recipes for success.
“We have a 15-week Boys-to-Men Leadership Academy program for young men starting at grade 6. The Academy is about self-discovery and instilling in these kids at a very impressionable age that not only can you make it in sports, but you can also become lawyers, doctors, accountants, police officers, or anything that they desire to become. But, first it all starts with an understanding of who you are socially, emotionally, and intellectually.” Thaddies said.
Thaddies’s Connect to Greatness organization is hosting a Coaches Information Session on Saturday March 4, 2017 at 1:30 PM at the Atlantic High School Media Center. This event is open to everyone. We are especially looking for men who are interested in learning more about becoming a Connect to Greatness Coach to show up. He is looking for the support of the local communities (Delray, Boynton, Boca, and Lake Worth) to be part of the solution to change attitudes and mindsets in our communities.
“Our event on March 4th is an opportunity for the men to lead and show the community that they genuinely care about the future of our young men. We fully embrace and understand the concept; it takes a village to raise a child.” Thaddies said.