Soldiers assigned to the New York City Recruiting Battalion, in Manhattan, accompanied comedian Steve Harvey as he entertained and educated approximately 400 high school-aged students while hosting the Army’s Planning for Life Program at Brooklyn’s Saint John’s Recreation Center.
Sponsored by the U.S. Army, Planning for Life is a program which emphasizes the absolute requirement for young men and women to make sound choices about their future before they make a poor choice with life-changing consequences. Contrary to the common misperception, PFL is not about recruiting; it is about providing young people with information about choices by emphasizing the importance of considering the needs of mind, body and soul.
With a focus on developing effective life skills, PFL educates young adults about their bodies and emphasizes the importance of adopting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The program also affords the students the opportunity to listen to personal testimony of how real men and women - real American Soldiers - overcome some of life’s most peculiar challenges.
Interested students can also attend free workshops in their community which focus on learning about their own personal mental strengths, planning for college and their envisioned career path and lastly, preparing academically for standardized tests with help from March2Success - a U.S. Army sponsored program which provides young men and women the chance to prepare for a range of standardized tests.
Two examples of then-young men who got it right are Command Sgt. Maj. Darryl Robinson, command sergeant major of the New York City Recruiting Battalion, and Sgt. 1st Class Laurence Colley, commander of the U.S. Army’s Crown Heights Recruiting Station.
The battalion’s senior enlisted Soldier, Robinson, has served over 24 years in uniform as both a fire direction specialist and as a recruiting noncommissioned officer.
Robinson didn’t plan on making the U.S. Army a career; he just followed his sister into the service and found not only a challenge to master but also multiple opportunities for development. Having led Soldiers at every level from section to battalion, Robinson credits the U.S. Army with giving him the chance to master the leadership skills he has today. Typical of today’s senior noncommissioned officers, Robinson is a graduate of both the U.S. Army’s Sergeants Major Academy, Fort Bliss, Texas, and earned a bachelor’s degree from Excelsior College, Albany, N.Y.
Colley graduated high school and went on to play college football before joining the U.S. Army. Originally trained as a cannon crewman, he served on Maj. Gen. Barry McCaffery’s personal staff during the Persian Gulf War. Coming to recruiting duty in Brooklyn, Colley found another challenge to master.