A network of community service organizations are banding together to train 1,000 new and existing mentors for black boys and teens in Baton Rouge.
The initiative, backed by the Urban Congress on African American Males in Baton Rouge, will create a network of organizations already mentoring the youth, recruit new mentors and then send them through mentorship training in January.
Groups such as Teach for America, 100 Black Men, and the Boys and Girls Club will bring existing mentors to the training sessions that will be organized by the Urban Congress, which is part of MetroMorphosis, a nonprofit formed by Raymond Jetson to accelerate and expand on the efforts he started after completing a year-long fellowship at Harvard University.
The full network also includes Big Buddy, the Baton Rouge District Attorney’s office, City Year, and the City of Baton Rouge Performance Partnership Pilot for Disconnected Youth.
The Urban Congress will work to recruit 250 black men who are not already involved in mentoring and provide them the training and then make them available to organizations in the community who are serving African American males,” said Jetson, president and CEO of MetroMorphosis.
Jetson said the training on Jan. 6 and 20 will be organized through a partnership with the national program MENTOR. Registration starts on Oct. 16 at MentoringBR.org.
“It is basically understanding how your life experiences can connect with the life experiences of the young men that you are working with,” Jetson said of the training curriculum. “And to respect their experiences and to help them understand how to take their life experiences and apply them in ways that make a difference in their lives.”
Once trained, the participants will use the lessons to enhance the mentoring that they already do, Jetson said. For example, City Year, which is part of AmeriCorps, has said its 101 members will use the lessons they learn to mentor the 5,500 students in the 13 Baton Rouge public schools in which they teach.
“Mentoring is critical to providing greater exposure to a higher quality of life for our youth,” East Baton Rouge Assistant District Attorney Will Jorden said. “Ultimately, we believe this mentoring network will help to bring forth the change our city needs.”