*The Steve Harvey Foundation hosted their youth mentoring retreat for teenage boys in Los Angeles last weekend. Out of 500 applicants, 100 boys (and their mothers) were chosen to participate in the event.

Held on USC’s campus, the three-day retreat allowed the young men to participate in a series of seminars hosted by various role models in the entertainment industry. Steve Harvey, Terrence J from 106 & Park, actor Lamman Rucker, Cedric the Entertainer and more were all in the building to give words of wisdom to the next generation.

Against the backdrop of the ongoing controversy between Harvey and his ex-wife, Mary, to a lot of folks the comedian/relationship author/radio host/activist/ still remains a shining light by giving back and using his life as an example to young men. He made it a point to address some of the mistakes he’s made in his personal life while delivering a positive message:

“I was who I was, but I am who I am, and I’m cool with both of them people, because … see you got to be something to come from in order to get somewhere. See I got to have been the way I was in order to be who I am. I get sick of people trying to hold me accountable for my past. You gonna make mistakes … but it ain’t that you made the mistakes, its how you handle it. When you make a mistake, get right back up don’t lay there and wallow in it.”

Steve Harvey and Cedric the Entertainer

The best thing about hearing comedians give advice is that they are always going to make their audience laugh, and there was no shortage of laughter as Harvey and his fellow king of comedy, Cedric The Entertainer, addressed both the boys and their mothers.

Cedric the Entertainer spoke first. To break the ice, he joked about not knowing that he was the keynote speaker and had the audience cracking up. He then gave three nuggets of wisdom that he felt the boys could use.

1. Surround yourself around likeminded people.
2. Plan your work and work your plan.
3. Find a mentor that’s great.

Cedric also talked about how self-doubt usually prevents people from reaching their greatest dreams.

“Don’t judge yourself by failures in the past. Trust the spirit in you, trust the ideas inside you that are about positive thinking, about doing greater things, about helping others, trust and know that that is powerful”

After Ced’s impromptu keynote, the man himself, Steve Harvey gave a tip to the young men on becoming a man.

“There are only two things that motivate a boy; pain and consequences. If it will hurt us, we will do something about it and if there are repercussions behind it, we will do something about it,” Harvey said.

At the end of the day, this weekend retreat allowed for young black boys to learn how to be responsible men. Both inspiring and motivating, Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer and the assembled role models left the young men with a sense of hope that with consistency, discipline, and a sense responsibility, they can successful.

Photos above and below by Valerie Goodloe

Some of the participating role models from the event

Young brothers learning to play chess at mentoring weekend