Mentoring program seeks to expand reach

Dr. Lamonte Williams

Mentoring program seeks to expand reach
August 24
04:33 2017

To kick off the 2016 school year, Ashley Elementary School held a 100-man tunnel on the first day of school to inspire the young men at the school to have a prosperous year. On Wednesday, Aug. 16, the Triad Mentoring Coalition held a press conference announcing its partnership in the “Million Father March” and plans to do it again, with a twist.

On Aug. 28, the first day of school for the 2017-2018 school year, the Triad Mentoring Coalition, which is a faith-based organization, has partnered with the Black Star Project to bring the Million Father March to Ashley Elementary and the Triad as a whole.

The Million Father March gives African-American male role models and mentors the opportunity to commit to the educational lives of their children and mentees on the first day of school and throughout the school year.

Since the initial march in 2004, fathers and other significant role models across the country have been asked to take their children to school on the first day.  The march is the beginning of a yearlong commitment of men to their children’s educational success.

This year the march will be held in 581 cities across the country and they will be held on the first day of school for the corresponding school systems.  The Triad Mentoring Coalition is the first organization to bring the march to the Triad area.

Rev. Dr. Lamonte Williams of Ashley Elementary and the Triad Mentoring Coalition says he wanted to bring the Million Father March to Ashley because of the success of the 100 man tunnel coupled with the effect it had on the kids during the school year.

“We have data that suggests that male mentoring is important along with data that shows that when a male is involved behavior problems are reduced,” said Williams.  “We know that the first day is very important and from talking to the young men they had a sense that the community cares.

“From that we saw that the mandate was we could not be a one shot wonder and we are in the trenches committed to the work,” he continued.  “We connected with the organization out of Chicago and they shared the same vision.  We both saw that fathers matter and when a father is involved the child is twice as likely to succeed.”

Williams invited the who’s who of Winston-Salem to the conference.  Those in attendance were Mayor Allen Joines, Mayor Pro Tempore Vivian Burke, Police Chief Barry Rountree and select members of the ministry and Ashley Elementary staff.

Joines backed the initiative, saying he hopes this is just a start here at Ashley Elementary along with his hopes this is adopted in some form or fashion in many schools around Forsyth County due to the vulnerability of children during the pre-teen years.

Ashley Elementary principal Scarlet Linville says once she was made aware of the Million Father March, she was all for it.  She thinks having fathers more involved in the lives of the children in any capacity is a plus.

“I think this speaks to the children to say we are not separate, the family and the school,” said Linville.  “We are coming together as one to say we expect great things from you.  I am really interested in the sustainability of it all because it’s not a moment in time but an actual movement.”

Williams says anyone that is interested in participating in the march to visit the Triad Mentoring Coalition website at to register.  He is also asking as many fathers or men to pre register before Monday’s first day of school.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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