The organization features programs such as Young Black Scholars and Pathways to Success.
By Jason Lewis
Since 1982, the 100 Black Men of Los Angeles have helped thousands of students make it to college through their mentoring programs. The organization is made up of a group of professional men who come together to help underserved students in the areas of education, health and wellness, economic empowerment, and leadership.
The Young Black Scholars is one of the 100 Black Men of Los Angeles’ featured programs. The co-ed program was started as a partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District and the University of California (UC) system.
“It makes sure that young African-American students are eligible to enroll in the UC system upon their graduation (from high school),” said Jewett L. Walker Jr., president and chairman of the board of the 100 Black Men of Los Angeles.
Former California State Assembly member and Senator Isadore Hall was a part of the initial class.
The mentors in this program hold workshops for students and parents to ensure that the children are taking the proper classes to qualify for college, prepared for the SAT, that they have proper study habits, and that they know how to properly prepare for exams.
This mentoring program now has partnerships with UCLA, USC, Loyola Marymount University, and West Los Angeles College.
The students who participate in the program are excelling at a high level.
“Kids who are in our program show better grades, an increase in attendance, they demonstrate a better attitude, and they demonstrate better social and emotional skills,” Walker said. “They also demonstrate better conflict resolution skills, which is something that we stress. We try to give them skills that will make them successful in the classroom, in their family life, successful in their personal life, successful in their academic life, and successful in any career that they want to go in to.”
The techniques that are taught lead to successful grades for the children.
“We teach the children how to engage with their teachers when they go to class,” Walker said. “We advise them to sit them in front of the class. We advise them to finish their homework as soon as possible. They can do their homework before they leave school, and then review it that night, and to review it before they turn it in. We ask them to do research that is beyond what’s in their class and what’s in their text book. We encourage our students to what we call systematically go through their text book.”
There are workshops on speeches and presentations, personal responsibility, and social media. These skills not only help students excel academically, it will also help them after they complete college.
“We find that the same kind of habits that are formed in young people early in life, that lead them on a better path, are the same kind of skills that employers want from people who come to work with them,” Walker said. “They want people who are willing to learn, people who have the ability to get along with other people, people who are social, people who don’t make jokes at the expense of others.”
Students need to have a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) to be a part of The Young Black Scholars co-ed program. To help boys who have less than a 3.0 GPA, the 100 Black Men of Los Angeles created the See Your Future mentoring program.
“Unfortunately too many males were falling through the cracks, so we developed a program that is designed to meet the needs of the young African-American males in our community by helping them develop core character traits to develop an understanding of conflict resolution, time management, academic incentives, and understanding that they had to set goals to achieve goals in life,” Walker said. “And then we help them achieve those goals.”
When those students achieve a 3.0 GPA, they are placed in the Young Black Scholars program.
The organization is creating a program designed for girls.
“It’s to meet the needs of the girls who are in our Young Black Scholars program, whose parents feel that they need a little more emotional, social support, that goes beyond their academic,” Walker said.
For that program, the organization is partnering with successful women to provide one-on-one mentoring.
The 100 Black Men of Los Angeles has an economic empowerment program called Pathways to Success, which is a co-ed entrepreneurial training program.
“We take kids through a 17-week entrepreneurial program,” Walker said. “They learn how to run their own business, finance their own business, and market their own business.”
The organization also has a health and wellness program that discusses childhood obesity, tobacco, alcohol, and drugs.
For more information about the 100 Black Men of Los Angeles’ mentoring programs, contact them at (310) 947-7745, visit their website at www.100bmla.net, and find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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