Through my experience with the Boys Mentor Group in Barbara Hawkins Elementary, in which I was a member of in my elementary and middle school years, I took the valuable experience learned from that program and combined my High Achievers, True Believers program with it so that it would help at risk youth from abusive and/or single parent homes who were deemed failures or hopeless. Through this program, the children have the opportunity to learn law, history and politics in a contemporary, exciting and engaging manner and to learn it not only from adults but from children that are closer to their age range.
Although many would say that I benefited from this program, I believe that entire generations have changed as a result of the Boys Mentor Group/High Achievers, True Believers program. As I learn from my family and teachers and I regurgitate that knowledge to the students, they will do the same when they have friends in similar situations as themselves and when they finally have their own children. This also presented a safe haven for kids during the after school hours who might otherwise fall into dangerous and violent situations outside of school while their parents were at work.
When my father left my mother when I was a year old, she was faced with the burden of taking care of me in a dangerous neighborhood. To make sure I would stay out of trouble, she sparked an interest in me for history by reading to me every day and night. I wanted to pass on my passion for history, law and politics to other students in similar situations so that they would avoid the traps known as violence and crime. There are so many “In Loving Memory” T-shirts around and I feel that through program like this, the abundance of those shirts will disappear.
My participation in this project took a toll on me emotionally. I suffered through personal guilt because I felt that if I wasn’t born my father wouldn’t have left my mother. As time went on, I realized that I wasn’t responsible for my father’s actions. Sometimes this program does become difficult to run because every time I help a child cope with the same internal struggles that I have to go through, I relive the experience me and my mother had with my father. I realize that these kids need help and I put aside my own feelings to make sure they receive that guidance.