In 2005, I made a decision to step up to the plate and actually give back to my community. no longer was I just going to blog about problems in prince George’s County, I was going to make a conscience effort to become a mentor to young black males.
Our young black men are at the top of every negative social ill. It seems like every week a new study comes out that painfully reminds us that black men are in crisis.
So in November 2005 I inquired about County Executive’s Jack Johnson’s “Men-to-Men Youth Empowerment Coalition” I completed the application, submitted my resume and awaited a response….. A response that I never received. In December I decided to call John Edmunds, who is listed as the program’s Executive Directer, to inquire about the status of my application. He informed me that the board will look it over and meet with me; needless to say that never happened.
In January of 2006, I tried again to contact Mr. Edmunds and he informed me that the program had been put on hold because the County was forming a new mentoring Venture: the Prince George’s County Mentoring Matters Partnership. This program would combine County Executive Johnson’s mentoring program with other county mentoring programs. At this point I was really excited; but that was short lived……….
The new mentoring partnership kicked off in March of 2006. They had a huge conference at the Prince George’s County Sports and Learning Complex in Landover, MD. they advertised like crazy for this kick off program. They made a call for black men to sign up as mentors and invited students from all over the county to come out for this historic county event. Washington Post writers Ovetta Wiggins and Avis Thomas-Lester covered and wrote an article about the event. Out of excitement I even blogged about the event.
The conference was a huge success. “Anyone who was Anyone” in Prince Goerge’s County politics was in attendance; Major Riddick and local church members. Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan gave a speech in support of our county; and of course our “beloved” County Executive Jack Johnson gave an emotional speech about giving back and forming community partnerships. All of the brothers who attended, left the conference feeling confident that we could truly make a difference in the lives of our black male youth.
After the conference in March, I heard nothing else about the program. 4 Months had passed and in July I called John Edmunds to find out what was going on. He informed me that they are waiting on a budget and to call back in a month. That was the last time I heard from John Edmunds. I tried calling several times after, but never got a call back; what a let down. My county stabbed me and other black men who answered the call for action and social responsibility in the back; the door slammed right in our faces.
What ever happened to the program? I, like many other black men, signed up to become mentors to the hundreds of black youth who attended and we have not heard anything from the County. Was this effort put on just to get Jack Johnson re-elected? I want answers, so since the county will not respond, I decided to get the two sisters who covered the story in the Washington Post to help me get those answers. I emailed them asking to do a follow-up story to get to the bottom of this. I will keep you posted.
That was last year, and since then I have decided to start my own mentoring program at Central High School in Capitol Heights, MD. But I am making sure, that as a tax payer, I am will not be taken for granted.