June 25, 2012

Black Star Project - More Men Who Really Care About Boys

Here is the next installment of Men Who Really Care About Boys. It's my attempt to offset the damage being done by the publicity about pedophile men in the news media. This is another story about an initiative, driven by a heroic man, and men, in inner city Chicago.

The Black Star Project was founded in 1996 to improve the quality of life in the Black American and Latino communities of Chicago by eliminating the racial academic achievement gap. Since that beginning, they have gone on to reach that goal by dealing with some of the many other barriers to success for kids in their community. As they say on their website: We have organized marches, vigils, student auditorium sessions, conflict- resolution workshops, forums and parent workshops on gangs and violence.

Black Star places a lot of emphasis on education of the young people in their community. They embody the notion, Good schools seldom (if ever) create good communities; but good communities can create good schools! Active and involved parents, families, and whole communities are necessary to educate children.

Peace in the Hood
One example of making a critical difference in a community is how a group of Black Star men got together to do something about the violence in their community. Here is how they describe their Peace in the Hood initiative: In the 2008-09 school year, 53 Chicago students 18 and under were killed, and in the first 2 and one-half weeks of the 2009-10 school year, 5 students 19 years old and under have already been killed. We have been organizing volunteers and staff around a campaign that we call Peace in the Hood. Armed with information, posters, wristbands and t-shirts, we send groups of individuals out into the communities most in need to reach and inspire disengaged and hopeless youth to continue their education and seek employment.

Black Star Warrior, Scholar, Healer Mentor Program
Another Black Star Project initiative I really like is their Warrior, Scholar, Healer Mentor Program. Serving over 50 boys, they meet four times a month, and have a one man to 4 young male ratio. They work on issues such as respecting elders; teaching youth to value education; teaching boys to honor parents, young women and girls; teaching how to be leaders and not followers; connecting youth to positive male role models; going on field trips to other parts of the city; and bringing in guest speakers. And that's just a start.

Any chance you and your men friends might consider an initiative you could start to support your neighborhood or to help out a local school? The boys need to see good men in action. If not you, who?

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