Baton Rouge mentoring organizations react to Obama's "My Brother's Keeper" initiative

Baton Rouge mentoring organizations react to Obama's
Photo provided by staff.

POSTED: Friday, February 28, 2014 - 7:30pm

UPDATED: Friday, February 28, 2014 - 9:28pm

The President is calling on foundations and businesses to pledge at least 200 million dollars over the next 5 years to help the initiative "My Brother's Keeper".

In Baton Rouge, several organizations that already focus on helping young African Americans tell NBC33 this call to action has come at a perfect time.

Life wasn't always easy for Charles Hill. He grew up in a tough neighborhood surrounded by violence, social and economic issues.

"When I was coming up I could have easily resorted to violence or gotten involved with illegal activity, possibly even incarceration."

But now he’s overcome all of that. He’s been a nurse for 13 years and he thanks the Big Buddy program.

"I really believe if they are given the opportunity we can be productive citizens to contribute to society because you have a lot of talented African American males out there but they don't have the opportunity to tap into some of the resources that are available," noted Hill.

Hill is just one example of how mentorship at a young age can help young people like him enter into a life of success instead of failure.

‘When you get the whole nation is saying yes this is an issue that we need to focus on mentoring young African American males, it really brings everyone together," said 100 Black Men’s, Vice President of programming, John F. Smith.

Now it’s President Obama that’s recognizing the push to help this population of people. It’s something groups like the 100 Black Men say is crucial, especially right now.

"I think the President means mentoring in a different way. He means average people taking the time out to spend with a young male which is different from people standing at a podium," said Smith.

With African American young men facing many obstacles today, this initiative is something Hill says could change the face of the future of our nation’s African American population.

“I am glad the president is taking the initiative because we are loosing two many of our African American males."

The funds raised for this initiative will go toward the infrastructure of the organizations; the people who lead and guide the volunteers rather than the programming which is often funded on the local level.

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