Community leadership awarded this Monday

Published 9:16 pm Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The S. Delois Mayes Scholarship Foundation will present the 2019 Community Leadership Award at the sixth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Benefit Brunch this Monday. The brunch will be held at 10 a.m. in the Hilton Garden Inn at Harbour View, 5291 Harbour View Blvd.

The 2019 Community Leadership Award will be presented to Cordel Garrett Jr., a 22-year-old man who is committed to helping others and who is the founder of “Becoming A Change,” an outreach organization dedicated to aiding those in need in the community.

“It feels good that people are noticing what I’m doing, because I never do it for recognition,” Garrett said in a phone interview Tuesday.

Email newsletter signup

Becoming A Change was established in 2016, according to, so that Garrett could provide meals to those in need on Thanksgiving Day that year.

Garrett and his team — seven people including him, all under the age of 23 — have since incorporated other efforts like clothing drives, care packages and block parties to benefit the community. Their organization is based in Portsmouth but also provides aid to the homeless in Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Chesapeake.

The organization also started the annual “Back 2 School Bash” in 2018. Garrett and his team distributed 380 bookbags for kindergarten through sixth-grade students in the Portsmouth community that first year, he said, plus a gift card giveaway for school clothes and an ice cream party.

Garrett said that he was motivated to start this organization, because he didn’t want to just “talk” about doing good things for the community. His hope is that he and his team inspire others to do the same.

“I actually wanted to be the change that I wanted to see. That’s how I came up with the name, ‘Becoming A Change,’” he said.

The guest speaker at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Benefit Brunch will be Mona Gunn, the national president for American Gold Star Mothers Inc.

For tickets and other information, visit