Just this past weekend at the Tom Joyner Family Reunion a mother handed me a business card with a note on it.
The note read “my son needs a male one on one relationship or mentor. Who in Philly can help? He is 15 and does play basketball.”
The note ended with the words ‘PLEASE HELP’ in all caps.
That mother is one of thousands of mothers all over the country who have the same wish for their sons, a trusted male role model to keep their sons focused and on the right path.
It’s not that these boys are fatherless.
Obviously everyone has a father.
It’s just that their fathers, for whatever reasons, are not actively engaged or involved in their lives.
Recent U.S. census data shows that more than 50 percent of black children live in single-parent households.
More that 90 percent of black children living in single-parent households are being raised by a mother only.
Those statistics are a reality that need to be addressed.
But that’s not what this commentary is about.
This commentary is about the boys and young men who already live that reality; the ones whose mothers or grandmothers or caregivers are desperate for male involvement in their son’s lives.
No one knows that better than radio host and youth advocate Michael Baisden.
Baisden lead a mentoring panel at last weekend’s family reunion and brought along a group of young men who are part of his mentoring program for the Michael Baisden Foundation.
Some of the young men had come to the program from troubled pasts but had since turned their situations around and for the first time were experiencing what it was like to be a part of a community which included positive male involvement.
They were learning what it was like to be men; something the women in their lives could tell them about but not necessarily show them through experience.
If you ask any troubled young man or boy why they get into trouble they will tell you it’s largely because there are no positive father figures or male role models in their lives.
There’s more than one generation of boys who stand to be lost if men don’t step up to save them.
The women can’t do it alone.
This is truly man’s work that should be mandatory to every able bodied male of any means in this country.
It’s time for all of us to be more like Michael Baisden by answering the mentoring call.
It’s easy to find out how you can get involved.
The American Institutes For Research has a list on line of reputable mentoring programs and effective strategies for mentoring African American boys.
It’s all there on BlackAmericaWeb.com<http://BlackAmericaWeb.com
Let’s turn some lives around.
Let’s be like Mike.