M.L. King Jr. Luncheon January 16

Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be celebrated on Monday, Jan. 16, on the campus of Central Methodist University in Fayette.

A luncheon will be held on the fourth floor of the Inman Student and Community Center, with lunch beginning at 11:45 a.m. and the program, sponsored by CMU's Center for Faith and Service, beginning at noon.

The cost for adults is $5 each. Students and youth under the age of 18 if accompanied by an adult will get in free. A portion of the proceeds will go to the local Food Bank.

Reservations are recommended but not required. Reservations can be made by contacting Connie Hayes at chayes@centralmethodist.edu or 660-248-6225.

The Rev. Ivan James, CMU Trustee from the St. Louis area, will once again bring youth from the St. Louis and Ferguson areas to hear the speaker.

This year's speaker is Tyrone Flowers. Born to teenage parents, he ended up in the foster care system and by age seven was tagged as "beyond parental control." He shuffled through foster homes, detention centers, reform schools, and state youth facilities before Flowers decided to claim his life and prove his detractors wrong.

He began playing basketball, quite well, and had plans to go to college on his ability. Sadly, two weeks before he graduated high school, he was shot three times by a teammate, which left him permanently in a wheelchair. He shifted his focus from his body to his mind.

Using as motivation his faith in Christ and his desire to fulfill his God-given purpose of helping other kids, Flowers moved forward. He graduated from Penn Valley Community College in Kansas City, then from the University of Missouri-Columbia, with honors, majoring in sociology and a minor in psychology.

In 1998 he received a Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law, where he received the CALI Excellence for the Future Award for his work in "Children and the Law."

Flowers has served on numerous local, state, and national committees and boards that address the needs of youth and community. Currently he serves on the Governor's Committee to End Chronic Homelessness in Missouri, on the board of directors of the Missouri Court Appointed Special Advocacy (MOCASA), the Missouri Children's Justice Task Force Council on Philanthropy, and the Kansas City House of Hope, among many other civic-minded organizations.

Perhaps his most important project has been the founding and running of Higher M-Pact, a community-based organization dedicated to transforming today's high-risk urban youth into tomorrow's leaders.

Through Higher M-Pact, he strives to turn youths' obstacles into opportunities and to create a solid foundation for success. The organization is providing effective programs, services, and experiences to youth in Kansas City, Missouri, and beyond. His wife is the executive director of Higher M-Pact

Ken Oliver, vice president of institutional growth and student engagement at CMU, said, "We are extremely pleased to be able to host this annual event in honor of Martin Luther King's legacy, especially with the caliber of Tyrone Flowers' lifetime achievements, and to continue to engage our community on the important diversity in this country."

Following the celebration of Dr. King's life, the Rev. Ivan James will remain on the CMU campus until Tuesday when he will deliver the chapel message at Linn Memorial Church at 10 a.m. That weekly event is always open to anyone who wishes to come and is free of charge.

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