Local News

Group Strives To Be Positive Role Model For Black Teens

Posted February 14, 2006

— Between work and family obligations, many people barely have time to rest or spend time with someone else's family. Some professionals are spending time with young men to keep them on the right path.

More than 60 volunteers make up the Triangle East chapter of the group

100 Black Men

.

"The concept of 100 Black Men started in 1963 in New York City. One hundred African-American men came together to try to improve the quality of life and create educational and economic opportunities," Jeffreys said. "One of our mottos is what they see is what they'll be."

The group's focus is on mentoring. Jeffreys is helping 16-year-old Jeffrey Williams to stay on the right path.

"I just kind of stepped in with Jeffrey to be a listening ear, keep him motivated to finish high school and maybe pursue post-secondary education," he said. "We spend one-on-one time together. I visit his school, talk with his guidance counselor, have lunch."

Felecia Williams, Jeffrey's mom, said the program is a godsend.

"As a single parent, it's hard anyway trying to raise a male and although I can do a lot of things for him and with him, it's still not the same as having men in his life who teach him how a man is supposed to do in society," she said.

"We are not professional counselors. We are role models and so what we try to do is be that listening ear, work with our kids, provide them with opportunities to be successful," Jeffreys said.

"He's become more of a leader in our neighborhood. He talks with the guys in the neighborhood and they kind of look up to him, and I think that's a prime example of what the organization has done for him," Williams said.

Although the group's focus is mentoring, it also considers health and wellness a priority. It has a program called Save The Date where women are asked to mark off a certain date on their calendars to remind the men in their lives to get a prostate exam.

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