President Obama’s male mentoring program comes to W-S

President Obama’s male mentoring program comes to W-S
September 17
00:00 2015

Ministers’ Conference holds Community Day (submitted photo)

Tevin Stinson

The Chronicle

On Saturday, Sept. 12, the Ministers Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity kicked off its Male Mentoring Program with a community day that blocked off the intersection of Graham Avenue and First Street for over five hours.

The My Brother’s Keeper initiative was launched by President Barack Obama to address the persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential.

My Brother’s Keeper Community Day was designed to unite mentoring agencies in the area with those youth who need it the most.

The initiative has six milestones that they promote:

*Getting a healthy start and entering school ready to learn.

*Reading at grade level by third grade.

*Graduating from high school ready for college and/or career.

*Completing post-secondary education or training.

*Successfully entering the workforce.

*Keeping the students on track and giving them second chances.

During the event, the street was lined with vendors, many of which offered their services free to the public, including free haircuts, free sports physicals and free health and dental screening.

The Rev. Lamonte Williams, pastor of Diggs Memorial Church, is the director of the local My Brother’s Keeper Project. Williams said it is important that we take care of our youth because they are our future.

“We are all invested in our youth one way or another,” said Williams. “They are the future, so it’s important the we turn the narrative around for young black men in this country. The numbers show that they are at a disadvantage, and we want to change that.”

Williams said he became the director of the project because he had been having a similar mentoring program at Diggs Memorial since 2010.

“At my church, we had a similar mentoring program, so when President Obama made the announcement of the initiative, it made sense that I would step into the leadership role because I had already been working on something similar.”

Williams and the Minsters’ Conference believe that no matter who you are, what you look like, where you come from, what your circumstances are, if you work hard and take responsibility, then America is a place where you can make something out of your life.

Jasmine Clark of Winston-Salem said she is glad the initiative was launched because it can help her son one day reach his goal of going to college.

“It’s always good to see programs like this, especially for young black males,” said Clark. “We need more programs like this one. If we don’t help our boys, nobody will.”

During the Community Day, young boys could register for the My Brother’s Keeper male mentoring program and talk to different mentoring agencies in the city.

Williams said he is grateful for school superintendent Dr. Beverly Emory for all she has done in support of the My Brother’s Keeper project. According to Williams, Emory encouraged assistant principals and counselors at local schools to help register males for the program.

A number of assistant principals attended the Community Day and are working with school counselors to see which students should register for the program.

“We know we had over 100 boys to register on Saturday,” said Williams. “We are still getting calls today from local schools and a number of people who are interested in the program.

For more information on the My Brother’s Keeper male mentoring program, contact Williams at 336-528-4570 or 336-724-3060.





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