Black History Month: Local Mentorship Program for young African-American males

Published: Feb. 17, 2023 at 7:34 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 17, 2023 at 10:09 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) We’re highlighting an organization called 100 Black Men of Augusta. It’s a part of an international organization aimed at mentoring black boys and men -- starting as young as 8 years old. News 12′s Mikel Hannah-Harding talked to our local members to find out the impact the organization has on the black community.

Education, leadership, mentorship, economic empowerment, and health and wellness. Those are the 5 pillars of the 100 Black Men of Augusta. A local minority based community organization with a straight forward mission -- “What they see, is what they’ll be”.

Matt Fraser, Vice President of Programming says, “A lot of young men - they’re just looking for love. Someone to talk too, somebody to vent too. The streets are always there for them so we have to be just as accessible as the streets. So we try to be their village whenever they need somebody to vent too or somebody to motivate them.”

It’s a non-profit and expense free program for mentees. The Augusta chapter of 100 Black Men has been around since 1995 and brings together men from all walks of life who directly pour into our local youth.

Fraser says, “There are so many occupations that are not talked about in our culture. So we try to instill in them that their are more ways to make money than picking up a mic, picking up a ball or picking up drugs.”

Derek Bell, Jr. is a mentee from the program and tells me they push him to be the best version of himself -- without asking for anything in return.

Bell has been directly impacted by this mentorship program and encourages other young men like him to join.

”I feel like they push for you to be your best self and that’s why you should join.”

Bell went on to say, ”This program is really something special -- some places you don’t feel the love but here you do.”

I know that I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for older men who looked like me, taking the time to pour into me as a child and young adult.

Matt Fraser explained to me that the earlier kids are able to enroll in the program, the better. And it’s a lifelong bond.

“Our mentoring never stops -- we mentor year round -- and even after they graduate even though we mentor from 8-18 -- we mentor past that.”