Black History Month: Ricky Wade shares his advice for younger generations
WEST PALM BEACH, Florida (SOUTH FLORIDA WEEKEND) - February is Black History Month, a time for us to honor and recognize the contributions that African Americans have made throughout history. WFLX caught up with local businessman Ricky Wade, someone who has made significant impacts on our local community.
“My mom always says that if much is given to you, much is expected of you and I enjoy doing that, it’s a passion of mine,” said Wade when asked why he takes on such a strong leadership role in the community. “I make a difference in somebody’s life and I am able to influence somebody it makes me feel good.”
Wade and his wife have been McDonald’s franchisee owners for 22 years and are the proud owners of almost thirty of the fast food restaurants. In addition to overseeing his businesses, Wade spends his time serving on several boards and helping with organizations in the community like the Urban League of Palm Beach County.
“I’ve been on the board of the Urban League now for I think the past 14 years and I love it because I know the worthiness I know the cause and I know the impact. They provide a lot of resources because at the end of the day you have to look at the education, shelter, and safety of the youth in our community, not to mention the minorities that live in our communities,” he said.
Another cause that’s near and dear to his heart is his work with a local academic institution, Palm Beach State College.
“The Palm Beach State College Foundation is something I’m very passionate about in that being the chair for that Foundation now for the past 3 years and I love that too,” he said. “Because we get scholarships for inner city, lower income, minorities and just kids in general and we can help them seek higher education.”
Wade says he keeps such a busy schedule because he feels called to give back and to help those who have the ability but may lack the opportunity.
“It’s important for black youngsters to see successful black individuals whether you’re in business, you’re a politician, or you’re a professional,” he said. “Black history to me is not about division, black history is about sharing all the great. There’s so many legends that have come before us that have paved the paths for us. Martin Luther King is just one but we have a responsibility and we have a responsibility to keep the legacy and do what’s right for African Americans across the country,” said Wade.
For the younger generations, Wade says he has one main piece of advice...
“I tell everybody the same thing it’s not what you know or who you know, it’s who knows you,” he said. “Take advantage of every opportunity that you have to meet people, network, get some resources that are out there. When you look at the experts that are out there, walk in their footprints, ask them questions. I would tell every youth out there, whatever you have a passion for in life, whatever you love, find the experts in that field and get to know them and let them get to know you.”
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