Providing positive male mentors to fatherless at-risk black male youth is very effective at reducing negative outcomes for these young men. Mychal Wynn, author of “Empowering African-American Males: A Guide to Increasing Black Male Achievement” agrees. She says:
the tragic plight of African-American males in regard to low academic performance, high school graduation, and college enrollment together with the increased numbers of juvenile detainees, prison incarceration, and gang involvement requires a strategic response. African-American males mentoring other African-American males is one of the critical strategies that is required. In fact, it may be the most important strategy in ensuring the successful development and maturation of young African-American males into a generation of men who will be loving fathers to their children, faithful husbands to their wives, and leaders for their community.
With this in mind, one of the projects the National Black Parents Association (NBPA) will implement in 2016 is the Elijah Project. This male mentoring program will connect positive male mentors with young African American boys. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a mentor is someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person; a trusted counselor or guide; or a tutor or coach.
Mission of The Elijah Project
The mission of the Elijah Project is to connect a caring, sober, and responsible male adult to a young black male for the purpose of providing encouragement, guidance, and support. The core values of the Elijah Project include integrity, discipline, moral character, respect, and commitment.
Benefits of The Elijah Project
Young black males can benefit in many ways from having a committed and caring mentor. According to the website of the University of Texas at San Antonio Mentoring Forum, researchers have found that in addition to improving self-esteem mentorship:
- Improves young people’s attitude towards their parents, peers and teachers.
- Decreases the likelihood of illegal drug and alcohol use.
- Increases motivation and focus for their education.
- Help kids avoid skipping school and find positive ways to spend free time.
- Enhances the ability of kids to make smart decisions.
- Develops a child’s ability to avoid violence.
Mentoring can also benefit the mentors. They can experience incomparable satisfaction from reaching back and helping others as well as developing lifelong relationships. Additionally, mentorship can improve the self-esteem and confidence of mentors because someone else values what they think and say.
Who Can Participate in The Elijah Project?
The Elijah Project focuses on reaching young black males ages 8-17. We believe it is necessary to reach these males before adolescence. The mentors can be any caring adult male who is approved by the NBPA and willing to spend at least an hour a week with his mentee. Each mentor must pass a thorough character and fitness background check. He should have a passion and compassion to give back to the community.
What type of training will Mentors receive?
After passing an extensive screening and background check, all mentors will receive an 8-hour, one-day training to establish them in policies, procedures, and strategies needed to be the most effective mentors possible.
The Elijah Project staff will provide regular feedback to the mentors and ask that mentors give feedback to the organization as well. We will constantly evaluate the Elijah Project to improve its outcomes.
How to Get Involved?
Fill out the online application