Hundred Black Men Mentoring Program Gives At-Risk Youth a Chance

Dr. Sylvester Hopewell, the past president of the 100 Black Men of DeKalb County, Georgia, currently runs the organization’s Leadership Academy Program to give at-risk youth in the county, hope that they can succeed in life and an opportunity to escape from the poverty and succeed in life.  The program is highly labor intensive and uses successful African American men and women who volunteer to mentor students who have been identified by the school system as being at risk of dropping out of school.  The mentors commit to meet with the students they are mentoring at least once each week and spend one weekend each month with them on a group trip.  The mentors use the concepts of Process Communication in dealing with the young men and women and report that it makes a huge difference in the way the students respond to them.  In addition to the mentoring sessions, the students attend classes 2 evenings a week and  receive training in computers, communication skills, problem solving, conflict resolution, nutrition, job skills and several other subjects to help prepare them for life after school.

The Hundred Black Men guarantee the students who enroll in the program a full or partial college scholarship, if they want to go to college, or a job if they want to go directly into the work force, provided that they maintain at least a B average in school, stay out of trouble, and graduate from high school.  Currently there are 125 students enrolled in the program – 90 young men and 35 young women in grades 4-12.  More than 35 young people have graduated from the program.  Many have graduated from college.  Some have gone into the military.  Some have opted to enter various trades.  Many of the graduates have returned to the area and now are volunteer mentors helping the next generation of young people have the same opportunity they had.

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    Kahler Communications
    (Washington, D.C.)
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