There are few things more motivating than hearing from those you mentored years ago, with a testimony of how your ministry introduced them to Jesus Christ and impacted them in life-changing ways. East Ocean View Beach Athletic Association has been around for more than 25 years, and the testimonies of young people, mainly young men, who participated years ago are ultimately what motivates Dwight McDowell in this ministry.
As Coach and Founder of East Ocean View Beach Athletic Association, a sports and mentor ministry that helps to build a stronger future for young people in the Norfolk area, it is no surprise that it was a coach and mentor that led him to where he is today. A gentleman by the name of Ronald Newton mentored and coached Dwight in Little League back in 1982.
“He was a Caucasian gentleman and I was an aspiring black youth that took over sports ministry in a not-so-good neighborhood full of mixed races of inner city youth and would not let us go by the wayside,” Dwight says. Ronald Newton has been Dwight’s mentor for more than 35 years now and his love and appreciation for this man continues to grow.
“He still motivates me as a leader, ministry founder, husband and father, and encourages my desire to keep pushing, which comes from him and his desire to see all young people succeed.”
In addition to the encouragement from his mentor, Dwight attributes his calling in ministry to a mixture of trial and error, street experience, training from his Bachelor’s Degree in Leadership Studies from Regent University, as well as his current pursuit of a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership. However, he explains that “what I think you need the most to do this job is a burning desire to keep moving forward and a willingness to try new things to make yourself better and better to serve others.”
Dwight absolutely adores his wife, Angela, who he has been married to for three decades. She is also currently pursing a Master’s Degree, in Marriage and Family Counseling, and encourages him daily to dig in and do all that God has called him to do. They have four children, ages 28, 24, 17 and 9, and their oldest daughter recently blessed them with a son-in-law.
Dwight is a diehard Dallas Cowboys fan, as well as a proud Navy Veteran. In his down-time, he enjoys fishing and coaching adult recreational softball. And his favorite book is Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr. Spencer Johnson, saying that this is “a book that encourages you to not whine or stand still because of your current situation but to move forward into your destiny constantly.” Dwight has been busy this summer, traveling to five different countries, but his favorite place in the world is Kiawah Island, a barrier island on the coast of South Carolina.
Dwight’s story exhibits just how great of an impact a mentor can have on a young man’s life. His ministry is the fruit of that impact, and the work he does carries on that legacy in the lives of those he is pouring into.