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National radio host pushes child mentoring in Augusta

News 12 at 6 o'clock, March 30, 2010

AUGUSTA---National radio host Michael Baisden is behind a massive effort to reach local kids. It's called the One Million Mentors Tour, and it's making stops in 73 cities across the country. Today the tour rolled into Augusta.

Baisden hosted a town hall forum at the Paine College chapel. More than 600 tickets were sold, and CNN was even in town covering the event.

"Fraternities, sororities, christian organizations...we need everybody out tonight to save our kids," Baisden said.

"I'm a grandma, but I'm going to get me a kid that I am going to mentor," said Robetta McKenzie, inspired by tonight's forum.

Augusta could use more mentors. The Neighborhood Enhancement Department is in danger of vanishing. Free summer meals, gang prevention classes, and after-school programs all hang in the balance.

"Right now more than any other time we need people to step up and become mentors and fill in the gap," said local radio personality and community activist Deanna Brown Thomas, daughter of the late James Brown.

The idea behind One Million Mentors is to get dozens of local mentoring groups to gather at Paine College and sign up an army of supporters.

"We are going to ask them to get up off their behinds, and stop shaking their heads at the television when they see things wrong with the kids, and get involved," Baisden said.

Need some incentive? You could walk away with $5000 to help jump start your mentor effort.

"See a lot of these artists put their name on an event, but they ain't walking the walk and really talking the talk. Michael is going in his pocket."

"Absolutely sounds better than the lotto right? It's for the kids."

Augusta Partnership for Children, Clear Channel Radio, Paine College, and Richmond County Schools all sponsored the event.

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