Raven Goodwin, Michael Walton, and Kenny Lattimore. (Courtesy Photo)

Michael Walton dedicated his life to investing in the community and children. Walton stops by Friendship Collegiate Academy in Northeast D.C. three times a year through the Michael Walton Foundation – an organization that provides positive outlets for youth and young adults through creative programs and services. According to its website, the foundation targets minority students from the sixth to 12th grades.

“This is what drives me being a part of inspiring the youth going around the world empowering students and making them aware that they can achieve anything they put their minds to, anything,” he said.

This time Walton brought rhythm and blues singer Kenny Lattimore and actress Raven Goodwin from the BET sitcom “Being Mary Jane” with him on his visit Feb. 12. Both celebrities are native Washingtonians and recognize how important it is to invest in the lives of young people.

“Being at home in D.C. where we started this was us chasing our dreams,” Goodwin said. “This is where our hunger for success began.”

Lattimore said that it is a priority to empower the youth. “I’ve always been dedicated to empowering young people using the elements of education, mentoring, and the arts,” he said. “When I found out the Michael Walton Foundation’s mission was similar to mine – it was a great fit.”

During the workshop students defined success within themselves. “Success to me is following my dreams no matter what. I want to be an engineer and nothing is going to stop me from achieving my goals, it’s up to me,” graduating senior Shaunetta Green said.

The overarching purpose of the day was to challenge students to understand that being successful is something they must focus on every day. “Success for me is learning something each day. I think that really is success because money comes and goes. There are highs and lows – triumphs and failures but the journey – and how we navigate the journey is my barometer for success,” said Lattimore.

Another lesson the children learned was about having a sense of community. “My mother really inspired me and made me conscious of the importance of giving back. She managed my career and guided my life from the beginning. My musical heroes are Chaka Khan and Stevie Wonder, they’re also huge givers in our community and I’ve watched and emulated them. Jesus Christ is my ultimate hero. I try to follow his principles and the way he lived,” Lattimore said.

“Young people are responsible for own futures and they have to invest in themselves. Education and information will empower them to make great decisions” he continued.