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This Black History Month, we honor the GAME CHANGERS: Everyday heroes whose actions make life better for the people around them. SEE ALL OUR GAME CHANGERS HERE.

Joseph Cole

Place of Residence: Nashville

Why He’s a Game Changer: Cole is mentoring young people who want to follow in his footsteps. As a high school student, Cole always wanted a career in the construction industry. His involvement in Nashville’s Architecture, Construction and Engineering Mentor (ACE) program led him to get a degree in Architecture from the University of Tennessee.

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While at college, Cole gave a glimpse of the contribution he planned to make in the future when he earned an award for improving diversity throughout the campus and was instrumental in reactivating a National Organization of Minority Architecture Students chapter.

At the same time, Cole was active in INROADS, which helps place minority and underserved youth in positions in business and industry.

“Volunteering gives our students, our youth role models,” said Cole. “It’s very rewarding for a volunteer, but it also pays huge dividends to our community.”

Cole secured a job at Thomas, Miller and Partners in Brentwood, Tenn., after graduation and continues to give back. He’s now a mentor at ACE, the  program that inspired him to pursue a career in architecture. He hopes to increase diversity in that field and serve as a role model to other young people.

“ACE serves the purpose to introduce students to design and construction-related career fields,” said Cole. “I volunteer with the students and provide them an everyday perspective of what architects do.”

Cole was acknowledged for his efforts with the 2013 Allstate Give Back Day Heroes award, which recognizes people who uphold the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Cole said being a recipient of the honor was “rewarding.”

“It shows that the time invested, the resources and exposure we give our youth, is paying off,” said Cole. “Dr. King inspired me to get involved with community service, because I have a responsibility as someone who has had others invest in me to invest in others who need help and opportunities.”

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