13 -year -old Emmanuelle Harris already knows that he wants to be an entrepreneur. Milan Martin, a fifth grader at Brown Elementary, says he’s going to be an attorney and Xavier McClendon is making plans to attend Tougaloo College after he graduates from Lanier High School.
These young men seem to have a plan and they are getting the support of the 100 Black Men of Jackson to make sure they can reach their goals.
Harris, Martin and McClendon, along with more than 100 other male students throughout Jackson Public Schools between the ages of 8 and 18, are being mentored by members of the 100. McCledon, 15, has been a mentee of the 100 since the second grade.
“They are caring, hard working men,” McClendon said of the 100. “Anything you set your mind to, they can help you achieve it.”
Local businessman Kodi Hobbs can relate with Harris, Martin and McCledon. Hobbs, who is now a member, was once a mentee of the 100.
“I was in the ninth grade at Lanier High School when I was introduced to the 100 Black Men of Jackson,,” shared the 33- year- old father of three. “A counselor at my school recommended me to Jeff Wolfe, who was the program coordinator at that time.”
Throughout his high school tenure, Hobbs was mentored by a group of men that boasts of a roster of some of Jackson’s leading businessmen and community leaders.
“I was exposed to real men giving real time,” Hobbs recalls. “Being raised in a single parent home, my mom did the best that she could. She worked very hard to make sure my younger brother and I had all the necessary tools but, she could not teach me how to be a man.”
The 100 Black Men of Jackson is one of 116 affiliates of the 100 Black Men of America worldwide. Through sustained mentoring programs,
the 100 helps young people realize their potential. The organization continues to create and implement programs that specifically meet the needs of the communities they serve. Each program, project, event and activity is rooted within the focus of the ‘100’: education, economic empowerment, health and wellness and leadership and diversity . Mentoring is incorporated throughout each focus area.Since its’ inception in 1990, the 100 Black Men of Jackson has donated more than $500,000 in scholarships to deserving youth and education institutions throughout Mississippi. One of their biggest fundraisers is their Annual Scholarship/Mentoring Celebration.
“The Scholarship and Mentoring Celebration is kind of like our reportcard back to the community,” said Donn Lewis, vice president of the organization. “These young men come in and moderate the whole program. This program is a great way to showcase the talent within Jackson Public Schools and let the community know about the positive impact the 100 is having with these young men.”
At 7p.m. on Saturday, October 27 at the Walter Payton Recreation & Wellness Center, Harris, Martin and McClendon will all be dressed in their tuxedos, ready to deliver speeches that they have committed to memory and present $2000 checks to the state’s Historically Black Colleges & Universities, as well as Hinds Community College, Piney Woods School and Christ Missionary Industrial College. Guest speaker will be Dr. Cedrick Gray, Superintendent of Jackson Public Schools. This year’s theme is the 100 As One—Mission-Cause-Network.
“My mentor has taught me how to become something in life and how to dream,” Harris said. “He’s also taught me how to achieve my dreams. They all have been very motivational.”
For more information about the 100 Black Men of Jackson, Inc. or the 22nd Annual Scholarship/Mentoring Celebration, call 601-366-8301.