BOOKS FOR DAD

13 June, 2016

HOUSE OF UMOJA, INC. TO LAUNCH CITY-WIDE PUBLIC SAFETY INITIATIVE AT 6/17/2016 - 9:00 AM (E.D.T.) PRESS CONFERENCE


HOUSE OF UMOJA, INC.
5625 W. Master Street
Philadelphia, PA  19131
(215) 473-5893
Facsimile:  (215) 879-5340

 

P R E S S    R E L E A S E

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

CONTACT:

 
Queen Mother Falaka Fattah
House of Umoja, Inc.
(215) 473-5893
E-Mail:  falakafattah@aol.com

 

HOUSE OF UMOJA, INC. LAUNCHES CITY-WIDE PUBLIC SAFETY INITIATIVE IN RESPONSE TO RISING HOMICIDE RATES WITH FRIDAY, 17 JUNE 2016 – 9:00 A.M. PRESS CONFERENCE

 

 

            PHILADELPHIA, PA (USA) – 13 June 2016  -- History, when left unheeded, repeats itself.  Forty eight years ago, in 1968, the streets and school yards of the City of Philadelphia were awash in bloody and deadly violence precipitated by gang “turf wars”.  The out of control gang violence became the catalyst for the founding of the House of Umoja, Inc. (www.houseofumoja.org) which took on the mission of bringing peace to the city – a mission that culminated with an overwhelming majority of gangs permanently laying down their weapons and signing the Imani Peace Pact, crafted by Mr. David Fattah.   In 2016, forty eight years later, a rising homicide rate together with violent clashes playing out in the streets of the City of Philadelphia – the nation’s fifth largest metropolitan area – has become the catalyst for the House of Umoja, Inc.’s launch of a city-wide public safety initiative – the “Imani Peace Campaign” which will be unveiled at a press conference scheduled for Friday, 17 June 2016 beginning at 9:00 A.M. (E.D.T.) and concluding at 11:00 A.M. (E.D.T.) in Room 400, the City Council Caucus Room, in City Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

 

 

               “It is not by accident that the launch of the House of Umoja, Inc.’s city-wide Public Safety Initiative is occurring at the beginning of Father’s Day weekend.  There are far too many Fathers in our city who have buried their children – the “heart and soul” of the village -- due to senseless violence.  And there are far too many children who are growing up Fatherless because their Father’s life was cut short by a hail of bullets.  Thus far, in 2016, there have been at least 111 homicides.  Forty-two years ago, a generation of young men chose peace over violence, signed the Imani Peace Pact, promised not to engage in any acts of violence, and demonstrated to the City of Philadelphia and the world that their word is their bond.  These same generation of young men are now Fathers, Grandfathers and even Great Grandfathers  who have not engaged in violence for forty-two years.  We are asking a new generation of young men and young women to honor their Fathers, Grandfathers and Great Grandfathers by signing the Imani Pledge and abstaining from violence.   Transforming the current violent and psychologically traumatizing environment of our great city is a shared responsibility.  We are asking concerned citizens, clergy of all faiths and denominations, legislators, educators, school administrators, community activists, Fatherhood advocates and practitioners, Restorative Justice and Reintegration Thought Leaders, health care professionals and providers, and social services professionals and providers to join us on Friday, 17 June 2016 at the press conference.  We all have ‘pieces of the puzzle’ to moving our children – the village’s ‘heart and soul’, and its ‘Next Generation of Leaders, Husbands, Fathers, Wives, and Mothers’ -- to commit to nonviolence,” remarked Queen Mother Falaka Fattah, the Co-Coordinator for the Imani Peace Campaign and Founder of the House of Umoja, Inc.

 

            For further information regarding the press conference scheduled for Friday, 17 June 2016 at 9:00 A.M. (E.D.T.) and the House of Umoja, Inc.’s Public Safety Initiative – the “Imani Peace Campaign”, contact the House of Umoja, Inc. by calling (215) 473-5893 or send an e-mail to:  falakafattah@aol.com.

 

            For further information about the House of Umoja, Inc., visit its website at www.houseofumoja.org.


 

 

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09 June, 2016

USA INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY TEAM LAUNCHES OBSERVANCE OF INTERNATIONAL MEN'S HEALTH WEEK IN USA WITH 6/12/2016 - 4:00 PM (EDT - NEW YORK TIME) NATIONAL TELECONFERENCE



Men’s Issues Thought Leader, Publisher of a widely read and highly acclaimed men’s journal – – and the New York (USA) Regional Coordinator for International Men’s Day SCOTT LUXOR will serve as moderator of a national teleconference on Sunday, 12 June 2016 commencing at 4:00 P.M. (E.D.T. – New York Time) and concluding at 5:00 P.M. (E.D.T.). The national teleconference which is the brainchild of the USA International Men’s Day Team will launch the United States’ observance of 2016 International Men’s Health Week.


To participate in the national teleconference call, dial 712-775-7031 and use the following access code: 803 828. The national teleconference call will engage key stakeholders in a solutions-based dialogue on Men’s Health which will include STEPHEN M. DOWNS, M.D., M.S., Jean and Jerry Bepko Professor of Pediatrics, Director of Children’s Health Services Research, and Vice Chair for General Pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, Indiana and RANDY HUTCHINS, Ph.D., P.A., one of the co-architects of the Male Care Services Program at the Spectrum Community Health Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Members of the United States International Men’s Day Team -- GREGORY JOHNSON, Ohio (USA) Regional Coordinator – International Men’s Day, DARLENE MONSOUR, Texas (USA) Regional Coordinator – International Men’s Day and DIANE A. SEARS, USA Coordinator – International Men’s Day (www.imd-global.org). Fatherhood and Men’s Issues Advocates, military veterans, educators , school administrators, legislators, legal professionals, social services professionals and providers, and the general public are encouraged to participate in the national teleconference.


In 2016, the focus for International Men’s Health Week is on mental health issues for Men and Boys. The link between physical issues and mental health issues, the alarmingly rising rates of suicide among Men and Boys, holistic therapies to resolve mental health issues in addition to traditional psychiatry, and the need to provide “safe spaces” or “safe havens” for Men and Boys which they can utilize to discuss their feelings ---particularly depression, loneliness, and alienation – without having their masculinity called into question are a sample of the issues which will be explored during the national teleconference scheduled for Sunday, 12 June 2016 beginning at 4:00 P.M. (E.D.T. – New York Time).

“Relationships Education should be a Number One priority for young men as well as adult men. The lack of relationship understanding is a key reason that mental health issues develop later on with men. We need to look at holistic therapies as a means of resolving mental health issues for Men and Boys – therapies that address nutrition and include meditation, group dialogue and hypnosis. There is a lack of support among Men, and society as a whole, in engaging guys in dialogues about isolation. We need to make it ‘cool’ for Men to share feelings as well as hopes and dreams. And this dialogue must be one of inclusiveness . . . diversity. We need to address issues that include racism, poverty, and unequal educational resources for urban Men and Boys,” remarked Scott Luxor when reached for comment about the national teleconference which will launch the USA’s observance of International Men’s Health Week.


For further information about International Men’s Health Week, visit its website at www.menshealthweek.org.


  For further information about International Men’s Day, visit its website at www.imd-global.org.

02 June, 2016

CHANGING THE NARRATIVE ON RE-ENTRY: TRACEY L. FISHER

          The fact that the 600,000 souls – Men and Women, some of whom are parents -- released annually from correctional facilities throughout the United States return to our families and our communities without being equipped with at least some of the minimal psychological and emotional tools they will need as they struggle to transition from years and decades of institutionalization is not lost on Tracey L. Fisher.   Heralded as the “Face of Re-Entry”, Mr. Fisher is the founder of “June Is Re-Entry Awareness Month” which is being observed by individuals and organizations in cities across the United States; the Chief Executive Officer of Gateway To Re-Entry; and the architect of a results-oriented initiative that serves as a deterrent to recidivism -- “Ten Steps To Re-Entry”.  Numerous accolades have been bestowed upon Fisher in recognition of his groundbreaking work on Re-Entry and Restorative Justice issues – the Lucien Blackwell Award; Authentic Servant Leadership Award; Black Male Engagement Award in 2015; and in 2016, CBS Philly/KYW News Game Changer Award.  Mr. Fisher,  an author, lecturer, community activist, and Restorative Justice Thought Leader who hails from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – the fifth largest metropolitan area in the United States -- is changing the national narrative on re-entry with meteoric speed.

 

          So, how is it that Mr. Fisher has such an accurately keen insight into what the 600,000 souls who are released annually from American prisons need to successfully navigate the arduous journey to reintegration, redemption, and healing?   Fisher’s accurately keen insight into the needs of incarcerated souls who will pour into our communities once they are released from prison and his development of solutions-based tools to assist them in their transition stems from his own experience with incarceration.  A number of the effective solutions-based tools Fisher offers formerly incarcerated souls through Gateway To Re-Entry were developed by him during his 22 years of incarceration in the Federal Prison system.   He began making an impact within the Social Justice forum long before his release from America’s prison system which occurred on 22 May 2012.  Fisher became the only inmate ever to facilitate orientation sessions for all incoming inmates.  His “standing-room-only” workshops provided incarcerated souls with, for example, decision making tools.  Upon his release, Fisher “hit the ground running” and has never looked back.  He has conducted an aggregate of approximately 50 seminars and workshops which include Crime Summits, Seminars for Men (Transformation to Manhood) and Women (Let Go So You Can Hold On), Emergency Preparedness, Civic Engagement (Voter Education), Annual Day of Respect, Family Talk, Feeding the Community, Community Treasures (Senior Citizens Health Fair), and Save Our Schools.  Gateway To Re-Entry’s annual d Black Tie Gala which Fisher hosts brings together key stakeholders from diverse backgrounds and introduces the organization’s solutions-based work on Restorative Justice to an expanded audi ence.  Fisher has also specifically crafted the “Dream Your Dream” Tour for school-age children which inspires them to dream and plan for their future and Mentoring Workshops for both youths and adults.

 

            “Re-entry is in everything we do.   Nothing happens in isolation,” remarked Fisher who immerses himself in community outreach work. 

 

           The communities that Mr. Fisher serves are the communities that formerly incarcerated souls pour into.  On Saturdays, you will find him conducting re-entry workshops where he speaks to youths, Returning Citizens, and family members.  His workshops are insightful and get right to the heart of the challenges and issues experienced by individuals and groups who attend his solutions-based and inspiring presentations.  On the second Friday of each month, TIIAI/Gateway To Re-Entry (TIIAI is The International Institute for Advanced Instruction and the non-profit arm of Gateway To Re-Entry), serves a brunch and conducts a free “Produce Give Away” for Senior Citizens who receive fruit and produce.  In December, he organizes the Shoebox Giveaway.  What is the Shoebox Giveaway?  It is an event that provides shoeboxes filled with educational items and toys for children – an event that was inspired by a speech Mr. Fisher delivered at a Pennsylvania Youth Center.  The youths who listened to Fisher were so moved that they felt compelled to do something for others.  In 2014, the youths decided to make 75 shoe boxes.  The following year, in 2015, the youths created 200 shoeboxes and in 2016 they have set a goal of creating 500 shoe boxes. 

 

          The author of “Mental Mentoring”, Fisher through Gateway To Re-Entry, facilitates Re-Entry workshops for Returning Citizens which incorporate, among other things, job readiness skills, self-employment/entrepreneurship, anger management, and parenting skills.  Fisher is on a mission to reduce the rate of recidivism.  His approach to getting the job done is based on an understanding that personal growth happens when an individual changes his or her thinking.

 

            “Our program’s focus is on purposeful mentoring which in addition to helping Returning Citizens develop a positive and long term vision, also identifies their specific goals while simultaneously underscoring how they can personally demonstrate accountability,” Mr. Fisher explained. 

 

            A highly sought after speaker, Fisher speaks at prisons throughout Pennsylvania and at schools, churches, and community centers.  He serves on numerous Mass Incarceration and Re-Entry panels, yet finds time to communicate with a host of inmates and lend support to their initiatives.

 

            Mr. Fisher is moving us to understand that the successful reintegration of the 600,000 souls who pour into our communities after years and decades of institutionalization is a critical path item.  Helping these 600,000 souls transition from years and decades of institutionalization to a new life in which they are encouraged to and succeed in reaching their full potential and become productive citizens is a wise investment.

23 May, 2016

USA INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY TEAM LAUNCHES OBSERVANCE OF 2016 INTERNATIONAL MEN'S HEALTH WEEK

         

PHILADELPHIA, PA (USA) – 23 May 2016 -- Created in 1994, International Men’s Health Week is designed to heighten awareness about the unique health issues of Men and Boys and to encourage their early detection and treatment. 2016 International Men’s Day Week will be observed worldwide beginning Monday, 13 June 2016 through Father’s Day – Sunday, 19 June 2016 year. The USA International Men’s Day Team will examine the myriad of mental health issues confronting Men and Boys which include, but are not limited to, stress, depression, lack of emotional freedom, and rising suicide rates when it launches America’s observance of 2016 International Men’s Health Week on Sunday, 12 June 2016 with a 4:00 P.M. (E.D.T./New York Time) national telephone conference call. The teleconference call dial-in number is 712-775-7031 and the access code is: 803 828. Participants in the national telephone conference call which is open to the general public will include internationally recognized Thought Leaders on Fatherhood and Men’s Issues from diverse backgrounds and geographic locations.

08 May, 2016

MOTHER'S DAY

                 



          For the past 17 years, I have written and spoken passionately about the critical role that  Men -- Fathers  -- play in the lives of our children – our global village’s “heart and soul” and our bridge to the future.   I have pointed out why Men are so important in our children’s lives; portrayed fathers as the co-architects of our “bridge to the future”;  and explored the key challenges that Fathers throughout our global village struggle to resolve on a day-to-day basis as they quietly and unceremoniously go about the business of positively shaping the minds and souls of the global village’s “ Next Generation of Leaders, Husbands, Fathers, Wives, and Mothers”.    Mothers play an equally critical role in the lives of our children – the “heart and soul” of our global village.  They also positively shape the minds and souls of the global village’s “Next Generation of Leaders, Husbands, Fathers, Wives, and Mothers”.   Like Fathers, Mothers also provide our children – our “heart and soul” – with valuable life lessons and critical tools for successfully navigating the world outside of their immediate environment  -- the “home”.  

 
            So, what did I learn from my Mother?   Etiquette -- the rules of engagement in social and business settings.   How to think independently.   She told me everything I needed to know about thinking independently with one sentence:  “Learn how to think for yourself!”  In retrospect, I think she was trying to make sure that I did not get caught up in “peer pressure”.  The ability to think independently, perform my own research, seek out and weigh the counsel of others, but yet rely on my judgment and my instincts when making a final decision continue to serve me well.   She introduced me to classical music, cryptograms, and astrology,  Some say that I am a good writer.  Well, I have my Mom to thank for that.   One of my first English home work assignments was to write sentences for a series of words.  My mother reviewed my homework each night before I submitted to my teachers at the elementary school I attended.  She was not pleased with what she saw.  Every sentence began with the same word.  So what happened?  My mother gave me great advice about sentence structure which I implement today:  "Never began every sentence with the same word.  Put some variety in your writing.  Make your sentences interesting."  And yes, I had to rewrite those sentences.  But it is one of the many lessons my Mother taught which continues to serve me well.

 
            By the way, she enjoys reading every issue of IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD(R).  Does she still check out my writing?  Yes! And I would not have it any other way!
 
Happy Mother's Day!

05 May, 2016

RECONNECTING DISCONNECTED SOULS: THE "COMMUNITY FORGIVENESS AND RESTORATION" INITIATIVE

            According to the International Centre for Prison Studies located in London in the United Kingdom, approximately 10.1 million souls are languishing in prisons throughout our global village.  But let’s bring this closer to home.  In the United States, it is estimated that at least approximately 2,239,751 souls are incarcerated.  At least approximately 1.7 American children have a parent who is incarcerated.  Many of the  2,239,751 incarcerated souls in the United States are parents.  They are somebody’s Father . . . somebody’s Mother.  For the most part, these Fathers and Mothers are as much emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually disconnected from their children as they are physically disconnected.    Each year, approximately 600,000 souls are released  from correctional facilities throughout the United States.  So, every year, 600,000 traumatized and spiritually, psychologically, emotionally disconnected souls return to our families and our communities.   And the communities that these souls return to, by and large, are equally spiritually, psychologically, and emotionally toxic.    


            The thought of disconnected souls pouring into our communities, raising our children – our babies –the village’s Next Generation of Leaders, Husbands, Fathers, Wives, and Mothers, and returning to the workforce as they struggle to make a life for themselves deeply troubled Thomas E. Robinson, Ph.D., D. Min.   It was this deeply troubling thought that propelled Dr. Robinson to create the “Community Forgiveness And Restoration” Initiative.  The Initiative is designed to help the disconnected souls emerging from correctional facilities heal their deep seated spiritual, emotional, and psychological wounds created by a lifetime of trauma that is exacerbated by years of institutionalization.  Dr. Robinson clearly understands that incarcerated Men and Women did not emerge from the womb as disconnected souls with criminal intent.  They emerged from the womb as “whole souls” who were insatiably curious, bright-eyed, spontaneous, creative, compassionate,  loving and trusting.   He has counseled incarcerated souls at SCI Graterford, the largest maximum security prison for men in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Dr. Robinson has assisted these souls in identifying and developing coping skills from their childhood traumas, personality disorders, suicide, depression, abandonment and separation disorders.  He has also assisted these souls with career choices, parenting skills, financial responsibility, entrepreneurship skills and legal issues.  Dr. Robinson has crafted  the “Community Forgiveness And Restoration” Initiative with two components – a Faith-Based Re-entry Program component and an Education component which familiarizes the general public with legislative and political issues directly and indirectly connected to criminal justice and prison reform, the return of rehabilitated citizens, public safety, crime prevention, and alternative faith-based solutions to mass incarceration.  He is bringing together Christians and Muslims through his mission  to provide disconnected souls with the tools they will need to reconnect to their destiny . . . their true purpose for occupying this space and place in the Universe we know as Planet Earth.  

Now, Dr. Robinson is not stepping out on faith alone to reconnect disconnected souls and transform our spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically toxic communities into a nurturing, self-sustaining and vibrant oasis.   On the evening of Monday,  2 May 2016, clergy, social entrepreneurs, community leaders, journalists, and concerned citizens throughout the City of Philadelphia—the fifth largest metropolitan area in the United States -- gathered at the Greater Commission Church located in the city’s West Oak Lane section and stepped out on faith with Dr. Robinson to launch the “Community Forgiveness And Restoration” Initiative.  The business of reconnecting disconnected souls is an “all hands on deck” proposition.   After successfully undergoing a vetting process and training session, male mentors will go into SCI Graterford to assist incarcerated souls on their journey to spiritual, psychological, and emotional healing.  Female mentors who have been successfully vetted and undergone a training session will work with members of the households to which the incarcerated souls will return

 If we are to end the hopelessness . . . the violence . . . the chaos . . . .  that is choking the life out of everyone and everything in our communities, we must change mindsets. And the “Community Forgiveness And Restoration” Initiative will do exactly that.

14 March, 2016

SAVING OUR CHILDREN . . . THE "MAYOR'S MENTORSHIP INITIATIVE"

It was an unseasonably warm March evening. Sunlight continued to bath the early evening sky as hundreds of thousands of souls emptied out of the multi-storied concrete and glass skyscrapers which dot Philadelphia’s downtown landscape leading to City Hall – the seat of government for the City of Philadelphia – the fifth largest metropolitan area of the United States. After completing an intellectually and for some – physically – grueling day of work, it was time to head home. A normally calm walk home or to the nearest bus stop, or to the entrances leading to the elevated and subway train stations morphed into a chaotic experience for these souls who were greeted by hundreds of school-aged children – children who were so fully engaged in a violent fracas that they were oblivious to the fact that they were in the middle of the city’s business district. What unfolded seemed somewhat surreal. Waves of armed police officers rushed to the scene in squad cars, on foot, and on bicycles to quell the melee and restore order. A number of school children were handcuffed, driven to the nearest police station, and charged with disorderly conduct. The students’ melee in the middle of Center City Philadelphia was punctuated by 48 hours of deadly gun violence that snuffed out the lives of a number of young men in their early twenties in the city’s Grays Ferry, Strawberry Mansion, East Falls, and West Philadelphia neighborhoods.
 
 
There is something going on in the lives of our children that is engulfing them in anger. The anger that resides in the deep caverns within our children’s souls lie dormant like lava on the floor of a volcano until a trigger is pulled. Our children carry around that anger with them to school. It drives their decision making and their interaction with other souls. And then some one or some thing pulls a trigger, and the anger that has been lying dormant on the floor of their souls rises up, bubbles over, and explodes like a volcano. The fracas that some of us witnessed firsthand recently in Center City Philadelphia was the result of our children carrying around anger within the deep caverns of their souls. Somehow, on Wednesday, 9 March 2016, an internal trigger was pulled within the souls of our children and the anger that lay dormant on the floor of their souls erupted like a volcano.
 
What we witnessed was really a “cry for help” from our children. Children will rarely voluntarily go to the adults in their world – their parents – and confide to them that they are angry or depressed or displeased. If they do, they are usually summarily dismissed. They are greeted with retorts of: “Angry? Depressed? Unhappy? About what? You haven’t been out here in this world yet. Wait until you grow up and have to get out in the world and earn a living. Then you can talk about being angry and depressed and unhappy!” However, children will “act out” their displeasure, anger, or depression. They allow their actions to speak for them and leave it up to the adults of the world to figure out what’s going on with them and to fix it. And that’s what happened on the evening of Wednesday, 9 March 2016 in Philadelphia. But this is not a “Philadelphia” problem. This scenario plays out in many cities throughout our nation and our global village.
 
 
Angry, depressed, and distrustful children who ignore boundaries – whose emotional and psychological wounds are not healed, mature into angry, depressed, distrustful adults who will become spouses, parents, workers, and neighbors who ignore boundaries prescribed by social and business etiquette. And that leads to anarchy. Handcuffing and carting off to jail children who engage in antisocial behavior which is a by-product of their deep-seated anger, hurt, and frustration only creates another set of problems. So, why are some of our children so angry in the first place? Surely, when they emerged from the womb, they did not emerge as angry, distrustful, violent, and depressed souls. What is going on in their homes and in their neighborhoods and at school? We really need to get serious about the business of saving our children. We can begin to get serious about the business of saving our children --- particularly “at-risk” children who are very hard to reach – by examining what our children need to help them work through their anger and help heal their emotional and psychological wounds which drive their decision making and their actions. One of the key “pieces of the puzzle” to saving our children and giving them what they need is to provide them with mentors. The Mayor’s Mentorship Initiative, created by The Honorable James M. DeLeon, a veteran Philadelphia jurist and Reintegration and Restorative Justice Thought Leader will help key stakeholders not just in the City of Philadelphia, but cities in nations throughout our global village go about the business of “saving our children”. The Mayor’s Mentorship Initiative is one of a number of components of Operation Fresh Start ™, a groundbreaking blueprint which eradicates recidivism by creating pathways to redemption and reintegration for formerly incarcerated souls that is masterfully crafted by Judge DeLeon.
 
 
Under The Mayor’s Mentorship Initiative, formerly incarcerated individuals will receive mentorship training. They must commit to the Initiative for a period of one (1) full year. Participants in the Initiative will receive a review of any pardon or clemency request prior to its submission to ensure that it is accurate and that all factors are complete for consideration in Pardon and Clemency Applications. Formerly incarcerated individuals will be trained to become mentors by an organization that has a successful track record in training mentors. After completing training, these souls would be dispatched to communities to mentor at-risk youths for a period of one (1) year. Administration of The Mayor’s Mentorship Initiative in the United States would encompass the generation of a Letter of Understanding between the District Attorney’s Office and the Mayor’s Office laying out the benefits of the Initiative. Simultaneously, a Letter of Initiative which explains the program will be generated and distributed to any crime victim with the understanding that the victim has the right to approve – in writing – the proposed Mentor’s participation in the Initiative. Once the Mentor has successfully completed the Initiative, a letter will be generated to the Board of Pardons from the Mayor’s Office personally attesting to this fact. An understanding will be established with the State Supreme Court that the Mentor is a participant in The Mayor’s Mentorship Initiative and a similar understanding will be established with the Governor’s Office. Judge DeLeon has assembled a working group consisting of key stakeholders from diverse professional backgrounds who stand ready to help implement The Mayor’s Mentorship Initiative by acting as a liaison between communities, organizations providing mentoring training, the Mayor’s Office, and formerly incarcerated individuals who are candidates for the Initiative.
 
 
Our children – the Next Generation of Leaders, Husbands, Fathers, Wives, and Mothers – through their behavior, are asking us: “Do you see me? Do you hear me? Do I matter?” Now the methodology that they choose to use to ask this proverbial question is giving many adults “cause for pause” and creating chaos in our neighborhoods and cities. But some adult in the village needs to responsibly address the proverbial question that our children are asking. That is how we help save them. Mentors can responsibly address this proverbial question. The truth of the matter is we all need mentors. And no one gets through life successfully without a Mentor.
 
By and large, Mentors are the most nonjudgmental individuals in the lives of their mentees. They treat the mistakes that their mentees have made as “teachable moments”. They will do all that they can to provide their mentees with the tools they need not to make a mistake even if it means being unabashedly honest about mistakes that they have made during their journey from childhood to adulthood.
 
 
Or as, my late Mentor once told me: “How do you think I know so much? How is it that I am able to help you? It’s because I’ve made mistakes and I have learned from them. And that is why I can help you.”
 
 
What our children are really saying to us, but do not know how to articulate it, is simply this: “I need someone to believe in me – even when I make mistakes. I need someone to listen to me . . . to understand the feelings and thoughts that I am expressing. I need someone that is going to take me seriously. I need someone that I can trust.” 
 
 
Mentors will tell their mentees: “Hey, pump your brakes. You don’t want to go down that trail. I have been down that same trail and here is what happened to me. . . .”. 
 
At the same time, Mentors are tough task masters. They are unrelenting as they push their mentees to excel and to work at reaching their full potential. Our children need tough task masters in their lives.            
 
I was fortunate enough to have a Mentor who was unabashedly honest and a tough taskmaster. He helped me understand the importance of having a sense of direction in life, taught me how to transform my mistakes into “teachable moments”, and had no problem challenging me and telling me to “pump my brakes” when I was on the verge of “taking a left turn in life”. No one has ever pushed me as hard. I learned how to “dance with life”’ . . . how and when to step out on faith . . . how to identify and create options. “Options” is a word that is not in the vocabulary of most of our children. They need to be taught how to identify and create options.
 
 
A Mentor will do that for them.
 
 
And that is why my faith in the Mayor’s Mentorship Initiative’s ability to save our children is unshakable.