DAD Series: A Father's Journey0
In the latest installment of our Dad Series, Reverend Morris “Mo” Brooks shares how he uses his own life experiences to guide and support his daughter and the youth in the community.
A Promise Scholar and graduate of Kalamazoo Central High School (Kalamazoo Central), Rev. Brooks was forced to overcome adversity at a young age. When he was only 15 years old, his father nearly killed his mother. Luckily, she survived, but the trauma caused by the event made high school difficult for Rev. Brooks.
“I really did struggle a lot with my academics and staying on task,” he said. “Football and basketball helped me graduate and I ended up going to Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC), which was the best thing that could’ve happened to me. I had to catch up and KVCC educated me on things that I should’ve learned in high school.”
During his time at KVCC, Rev. Brooks became interested in sociology and later earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Psychology from Western Michigan University in 2015. Now the Youth Director at Mt. Zion Baptist Church (Mt. Zion), Rev. Brooks shares the knowledge he has learned with the young adults in his community.
“I am thankful that I can make a difference in the lives of our youth,” Rev. Brooks said of his position. “I get to help kids and families with the things I struggled with and assist them in avoiding some of the things I have dealt with.”
In addition to his work at Mt. Zion, Rev. Brooks also mentors students at Lincoln International Studies School and Kalamazoo Central on a weekly basis.
Becoming a father earlier this year has taken his approach to mentorship and encouragement to a new level. After the birth of his daughter in May 2019, Rev. Brooks added proud father to his list of roles and responsibilities.
“I love everything about parenthood so far,” he said about becoming a new dad. “Whether it is comforting her when she’s crying, doing things that make her laugh, or just getting to know her, I look forward to all the fun things that are happening and are going to happen.
“I hope to encourage her to use her purpose in life as a way of helping others,” he continued. “I want to always inspire her to try new things and find a passion that will last a lifetime.”
In addition to his position at Mt. Zion and being a father, Rev. Brooks is also an author. Drawing from his own personal journey, he wrote Unmasked: The Courage to Be You as a way to encourage teens and young adults.
“In Unmasked, I tell the story of my family and how I overcame the struggles I faced in high school,” he said, “Our youth face real-life issues and as adults we need to help them address these problems.”
Being able to use one’s past to help others is truly a beautiful thing. Best of luck with fatherhood, Rev. Brooks. We know you’re doing a great job!