Making Toledo Better

Chris McBrayer creates community among young people

Teacher, coach, pastor, parent: each title plays a significant role in a child’s life. Most people take on just one or two of these responsibilities, but that isn’t the case for Chris McBrayer. McBrayer carries all four of these titles, inspiring young men and women in Toledo on a regular basis.

When he isn’t teaching, coaching, preaching, or parenting, McBrayer runs the Male Empowerment (ME) Summit every Sunday from 5-7pm. The group meets in a parking lot on the corner of Bancroft St. and Franklin Ave., catty-corner to the fire station, to learn various life skills. The ME Summit has also recently branched out to include young women as well.

Inspiring youth through mentorship

“The goal is to get people to see that your life is much better when you have a purpose,” McBrayer said. He also believes his work helps youth to learn to positively contribute to their community.

The ME Summit is McBrayer’s way of giving back to the community that helped shape him into the man he is today. “I was a bad kid going nowhere fast,” McBrayer explains. “People from church would see me walking and pick me up.” They told him that as long as he was with them, they knew he wasn’t getting into trouble.

Brandon McNeil (mentor) with J’Sean Woodson (attendee), learning how to iron.

McBrayer credits turning his life around to participating in sports and to the support of church mentors.

The ME Summit teaches young men and women value through hands-on workshops. It’s also part of a larger organization, 1DayBetter, founded by McBrayer to help individuals become “one day better in every part of their lives.”  

“It’s my mantra and my encouragement to individuals to strive to be better than yesterday,” he said. “As long as you win today, you’re one day better.”

McBrayer wears a lot of hats in the community. He’s also a husband to Shareese and father to Cason (8) and Caylee (4). McBrayer and his family enjoy giving to their community throughout the year.

The McBrayer family.

A dream come true

At a recent ME CPR Summit, attendees learned the basics of CPR and how to administer CPR when necessary, enabling them to save someone else’s life, therefore adding more value to their own.  McBrayer hopes the ME Summit will teach young people to care about themselves and others. “Life is better when you have a purpose,” he said. “When you see that someone else cares about you, you care about others.”

Getting involved

Anyone interested in volunteering with the ME Summit can fill out a form available on the 1DayBetter.org. For those who are interested but unsure of when they can commit, McBrayer encourages, “Just show up.” 

The Summit relies on donations from the public to supply attendees with the proper equipment for each week’s topic. A wishlist is posted weekly on the ME Summit Facebook page and monetary donations are also accepted.  Whether you’re a young person looking for value or an older person looking to help, this is a rain or shine program and is open to anyone who wants to show up.  The ME Summit is a 10-week long program, and previous workshops have included boxing, self-defense, CPR, yard work, and learning to tie a tie.

For more information, visit the ME Summit or WE Summit Facebook pages or 1DayBetter.org.


Wit & Wisdom:

What’s your favorite activity to do with your family? 

Movie night.

What is your favorite book to read to your kids? 

The Bible. I love reading narrative Bible stories to my kids.

Best holiday memory from when you were a kid? 

Christmas or Thanksgiving because it’s the time to give and the time to give thanks.

What’s your go-to activity when you have a few minutes to yourself? 

Meditation, prayer, and worship. 

Describe your life in five words or less.

God has truly blessed me.

What is your favorite Toledo hangout? 

Scott High School (McBrayer is the head football coach for the Scott Bulldogs).

Describe Toledo in a sentence.

The City of Hope.