An effort to form a band of 1,000 mentors in Baton Rouge got underway Saturday with a program focused on training people to better understand issues faced by young black men and finding ways to help them succeed.

About 400 people who will be part of the MentoringBR network attended the daylong event. Another session will be held on Jan. 20.

MentoringBR is led by the Urban Congress on African American Males in Baton Rouge, which is an initiative of the nonprofit MetroMorphosis.

Many of those participating are from churches and community service groups such as City Year, 100 Black Men and Big Buddy. MentoringBR will help those who are not part of a specific organization find opportunities to apply their skills.

“What we want to do is to strengthen their awareness of how they engage with black boys in our community,” said Raymond Jetson, president and CEO of MetroMorphosis.

The goal is for the mentor trainees to learn more about potential struggles affecting MentoringBR’s target demographic — such as racial discrimination, lower graduation rates and higher incarceration rates — and how they can inspire them to overcome those obstacles.

“Not every African-American boy is dropping out of school or going to jail,” Jetson said. “There are boys and men in our community doing very positive things, and there are lots of people in our community who are willing to give of themselves.”

“Every person who is experiencing some degree of success or accomplishment in life can point to somebody or somebodies who poured into them in some way or another,” he added.

Copyright 2023 Raymond A. Jetson. All Rights Reserved
Designed by