Jul. 18—Christopher M. Emanuel, an Aiken local and nonprofit founder, said the biggest lesson his grandfather taught him is "a man takes care of what he creates."
The 31-year-old, Chattahoochee Technical College graduate founded a nonprofit after his daughter, Skylar Brielle Emanuel, was put up for adoption without his consent.
"I would have never imagined being in this space," Emanuel said. "One thing that I do realize in life is that your career is what you're paid for, your calling is what you're made for."
The Sky Is The Limit Foundation aims to educate, empower and equip fathers on non-marital paternity and parental rights.
But Emanuel said he wouldn't have been able to get his daughter back if he hadn't had the mentorship of his grandfather, Thomas Lee Emanuel.
Thomas was a plumber in Aiken and owned his own business for 45 years.
"My grandfather was very instrumental in my life," Emanuel said. "He taught me to document everything."
He explained that his grandfather was very organized and taught him the importance of documentation.
"From his bills, to his receipts from his business, everything," said Emanuel. "That's why I got my daughter."
Emanuel stressed the importance of young people having leaders to look up to, the way he was able to look up to his grandfather.
"How is someone going to know what to do or how to do it if they haven't seen anyone do it?" he said.
In addition to serving as executive director of the Sky Is The Limit Foundation, Emanuel serves as the director for the Department of Juvenile Justice's Teen After School Center at Second Baptist Church, is a radio host at WNRR Gospel 93.3FM, is a national trainer at the One Circle Foundation and is CEO of NoDeadbeats Imprint LLC.
NoDeadbeats Imprint LLC is a clothing company that "paints positive energy through fashion" and funds the Sky Is The Limit Foundation.
The company's clothing features memorable and unique designs that help spread positivity.
His efforts have been highlighted in the The New York Times, The Atlantic Journal, ABC Nightline News and The Oprah Winfrey Network.
Emanuel said it is all because of Skylar.
"She's the enforcer, and she's the reason why I do everything that I do," he said.
Emanuel's biggest goal is creating an infinite amount of pipelines to create opportunities of families.
"I feel it is my responsibility to take ownership, be accountable, and promote healing not only in my community, but across the world, and to inspire the next generation of leaders under me," Emanuel said.
However, he said that he wouldn't be where he is today without the support of his hometown.
"Aiken, South Carolina, brought my daughter home," Emanuel said. "Aiken, South Carolina, is a place where I feel safe. Aiken, South Carolina, believes in me, supports me and invests in me. Aiken, South Carolina, is leading the way, in my opinion, for the whole world."