Akeem Davis is passionate about serving others. As an entrepreneur, he knew creating a strong network would be the backbone supporting his mission.
As the founder and director of Transitional Care Coach Program, a startup created to bridge the gap between high-risk patients and the wellness resources they need, Davis set out to network on behalf of his new business and those it helped. Little did he know attending a Community Connections networking session at the local library in 2019 would lead him to robust volunteer opportunities that also expanded his outlook.
“I have a family, I’m a property owner and I pay taxes, so of course I want to have the best police department possible to keep my family safe.” —Davis
Davis met Huntsville City Council Member Jennie Robinson at that meeting, and his attendance soon became consistent. Robinson invited him to be on the steering committee for Community Connections. Recognizing the nature of his business was a perfect fit, he was then nominated to be on the Madison County Department of Human Resources board.
“I was already dealing with that vulnerable population [through Transitional Care Coach Program], so when she asked me to help, I said, ‘Of course I would,’” Davis said. “It was right up my alley.”
Through his work with the Huntsville Police Department’s (HPD) Crisis Intervention Team (CIT), he eventually connected with Council Member Frances Akridge, who asked Davis to be on the Huntsville Police Citizens Advisory Council (HPCAC).
“This could really lead to something impactful because I have a different perspective to bring, and I want to help bridge that gap,” he said.
Part of his success as an entrepreneur was partially due to a willingness to meet challenges head-on, but this request gave Davis pause.
“I had run-ins with the law in my younger days,” he recalled. “But I had to remember my life is totally different now.”
Davis reminded himself that he was no longer the teenager who made questionable decisions, but was now married with three children and a successful business owner.
“At first, I was hesitant about it,” Davis said. “Then when Frances asked me again, I thought to myself, ‘You know, this could really lead to something impactful because I have a different perspective to bring, and I want to help bridge that gap.’”
He wanted to be a positive part of community relations with HPD while simultaneously learning more about police policies and procedures.
“I have a family, I’m a property owner, and I pay taxes, so of course I want to have the best police department possible to keep my family safe,” Davis said.
Davis believes the qualities that make him a successful entrepreneur also make him useful as a volunteer, specifically open mindedness, creativity and innovation that can sometimes shake up the status quo.
“Sometimes it takes one person to say, ‘Hey, maybe we try this instead,’ to motivate other people to voice their ideas, too,” he said.
Davis credits his time with the HPCAC as a valuable learning resource, and he is very enthusiastic about the dialogues he’s had with police officers through his involvement with the board. He’s thought about encouraging more Black men to attend HPCAC meetings, but he believes the participation of another demographic is even more critical.
“I would love to see Black women and Latino women join [the HPCAC],” Davis said. “They are a huge part of our community, and it would be great to see them represented on our board.”
Praise for volunteerism
Davis said people shouldn’t equate volunteering with unpaid sacrifice, but instead focus on the relationships developed by stepping out of your comfort zone with like-minded people.
“If you won’t do it, who will?” —Davis
“Volunteering lets me be a positive part of the community,” he said. “When I was 19, that wasn’t the case. But now, I can look back on my personal growth, and volunteering in my community gives me confirmation that I’m doing the right thing and I’m on the right path.”
When asked what advice he would give to anyone thinking about volunteering in Huntsville, Davis has a simple ethos.
“I would ask ‘If you won’t do it, who will?’” he said. “If you see a problem or have a solution to that problem … what if you are the only person with a solution? What happens if you don’t speak up? Things would never change. If you have a conviction in your heart, it is your duty to follow through with it.”