Mentoring program at Petree Elementary gaining traction

Nicole Morris

Mentoring program at Petree Elementary gaining traction
February 23
00:04 2017

By Timothy Ramsey

The Chronicle

Many people advocate that one of the major problems affecting the African-American community is the lack of mentors for young men with absentee fathers not in the home.  The African-American Male Initiative at Petree Elementary in connection with Wake Forest University looks to address some of these issues concerning young black men.

Nicole Morris, guidance counselor at Petree Elementary, connected with Kwone Ingram of Wake Forest and the idea was born from there.  Ingram then recruited other Wake Forest Medical students and the program grew.

“I just saw a need for our boys to get help in their transition to the next level,” said Morris.  “The boys are able to see someone who looks like them who has made it through a rough patch because all of our mentors have been through something.”

Ingram says that he was influenced by his mentor at Wake Forest, Dr. Bernard Roper, who encouraged him to pursue his dream of mentoring young men in the area of where he grew up.

“What I wanted to do was to kind of provide for these young men like my mentors did for me when I was young,” Ingram continued.  “People in this community don’t get a chance to see people who look like them doing great things without having a basketball in their hand or a microphone.  So we just wanted to show these young men that as medical students and young professionals you could also achieve this.”

The students from Wake Forest meet with the young men from Petree every two weeks to have group sessions where they talk about different topics concerning males.  They also will take the young men on field trips to put into action the things they have learned from the Wake Forest students.  The mentors also have one-on-one time with the young men to discuss their personal issues.

Ingram and Morris said they have seen growth in the young men even though the program has only been in effect since late 2016.  The young men from Petree also enjoy the lessons they have learned thus far.

“What I like most about the program is that the guys are educated and they help us set short-term goals,” said Michael Smith, a student in the program.  “They help us channel our stress and teach us things to do if we lose control of our temper.  This will help us going forward because our mentors continue to push us forward.”

Taalib-Dir Grier III, another student in the program said, “They help us make better decisions in our lives and help us deal with our teachers and homework.  I just like it because they help us in many areas, including our homework, so that’s a big help.”

The mentors are also connected with the students parents to enable them to better communicate with the young men along with getting some insight on things they need to work on.

Ingram says he would love to expand the program beyond the just having Wake Forest students as mentors.  He thinks having mentors from different walks of life will give the young men a broader perspective about life and the things to expect with they get older.

Morris stated that she would love the mentors to build lifelong relationships with the young men and help them throughout their school years and beyond.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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