The executives affiliated with Global Development Services for Youth Inc. stood when Devan Martin walked into the boardroom in Seat Pleasant and called the meeting to order.

Martin, 14, president of D&D Kid Clowns Ltd., was eager to hear from his peers. Kori Francis, 12, president of K&A Bicycle Services, needed supplies. Ian Murray, 12, wanted information about how to sell his art on the Internet, and Denzel Talley, 12, was finalizing a rate sheet for his candy company.

But first things first.

"Good evening, ladies and gentleman. Turn to our pledge," Martin said as the young entrepreneurs opened their notebooks and began to yell out: "I will reverence and totally submit only to God. I will honor and respect my whole family. I will develop and mature my total self. I will give back and make better my community. I will protect and defend freedom, justice and equality."

At first glance, the gathering appeared to be an effort to mold young people into future business leaders. But you had only to look outside at a $100,000 playground these youngsters built with grants and other money they raised to see that a serious effort is also underway to groom the next generation of community activists.

"We really need nonprofit organizations like Global Youth Development, because they are doing something with the youth," said Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D-4th District), who represents much of Prince George's County in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"Too many people are talking about youth. But [Global] is really doing a hands-on job, and that is what we need," Wynn said.

The organization is the brainchild of longtime Seat Pleasant community activist Eugene Grant, who is founder and chief executive of Global Development Services for Youth.

"We don't accept handouts! We don't accept failure! Frederick Douglass said if there is not struggle, there is no progress," Grant preached during one of the paramilitary-style meetings he holds with the youth twice a week.

"What does j-o-b stand for?"

"Just over broke," yelled the teenagers, who are part of a nonprofit youth organization that, since its inception in 1989, has had more than 3,000 students pass through the program.

The program is financed by a $35,000 grant from the Prince George's County Redevelopment Authority, a $1,000 grant from the Bonnie Johns Children's Fund and additional private donations. Weyimi Ayu said he, Grant and the entire staff are volunteers and aren't paid for their work with the organization.

Grant said the goal of the organization is to develop mental, physical and social skills among the young people who come to the program by referrals from the public schools, private companies and local residents.

As Tamar White, 16, showed the video he shot while riding in a police motorcade with a Kenyan ambassador, he broke out in a big smile. "This was a good experience because everybody doesn't get a chance to do something like that," White said.

While Tamar White was talking, his brother Troy, 14, nudged him out of the way because he wanted to show a video showing him with a delegation from China during a legislative hearing in Annapolis.

"The Chinese people wanted to learn how we dealt with teenage violence. We had to learn Chinese," said Troy, who proceeded to speak Chinese words that meant "Hello," "Thank you" and "How are you doing?"

Brenda White, the boy's 42-year-old single mother, said that even though the family has moved from Seat Pleasant to Warrenton, Va., she still brings her two boys back to the community twice a week for the program. "This is an excellent program that gives them and their peers opportunities they would not have received anywhere else."

Although Global is intended for youth who are considered at risk, the program is not for everybody. The young people have a long list of projects with timetables that they must complete, such as a five-page, double-spaced biography, a typed re{acute}sume{acute}, three letters of reference and a typed personal mission statement.

Regina Ware, 14, of Capitol Heights said she likes the program, and points to the respectful way young women are treated. When Ware walked into the room, Grant barked for all of the young men to stand up in order to greet "a lady."

"The program is very educational," Ware said.

For Talley, the program has opened his eyes to a potentially bright future. The 12-year-old is in the retail candy business, but he has bigger business plans. "I want to become a mortician. I like this program. It is really good for children like me." Ayu said Talley has come along way since he joined the program. "When he first came here he wasn't familiar with how we worked. But he has put together his re{acute}sume{acute}, his biography and his personal/professional mission statement, and now he understands his potential."

The average GPA of the students at Global is 2.5, or about a C-plus. Several students' grade-point averages are higher, but Ayu and Grant don't publicize individual grades because they fear some students would be discouraged. Ayu said that since last year, several students have raised their grades, possibly because of the organizational skills they have learned in the program.

The training centers where the students meet are referred to as embassies. The Prince George's outpost is known as the Seat Pleasant Embassy, and the program also has offices in Kenya and Uganda.

The programs in Africa got started after the Rev. Joshua Oyero, a resident of Kenya, met Grant on a visit to the United States and was inspired to establish a version of the program in Africa.

Grant said duties such as encouraging the youngsters to participate in activities and pestering them about their grades are all part of his effort to raise expectations among young people and drive home the point that they can achieve.

"Don't lower your standards. Don't lower your expectations," Grant said to the students during one of his many lectures about academic achievement. "If there is no struggle, there is no progress. The issue today is not discrimination. It is laziness."

Last week, Global, with Wynn's help, held a reception in a congressional office building at which the participants showed their accomplishments to public officials. At the celebration Friday evening, there were representatives from several federal agencies, as well as some foreign officials.

"It is very exciting to see kids who want to do something with their lives. You don't find that much anymore," said Nail A. Al-Jubeir, spokesman for the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, who attended the celebration.

Global is located in a former public school, and on the wall is a sign with a fitting slogan: "It is better to prepare for an opportunity and not have one, than to have an opportunity and not be prepared."

Above, members of the Global Developmental Services for Youth Inc. assemble in Seat Pleasant. At left, Kori M. Francis recites the group's pledge with other members: "I will reverence and totally submit only to God. I will honor and respect my whole family. I will develop and mature my total self. I will give back and make better my community. I will protect and defend freedom, justice and equality."

Denzel A. Talley, above, listens during a meeting of the young entrepreneurs. At right, Eugene W. Grant, founder and chief executive of Global Developmental Services for Youth, makes a point during the meeting. "Don't lower your standards. Don't lower your expectations," Grant told the youngsters. Devan Martin, 14, whose business is called D&D Kids Clowns Ltd., runs the meeting of youth entrepreneurs.