I have just finished reading a very positive article in PilotOnline.com entitled, “Portsmouth mentorship program gives teens a new look at character” about a new mentoring program at I.C. Norton High School. Danny C. Smith, a Norcom assistant principal, started the program named Boyz II Men last year in response to what he termed, “a pseudo gang problem” at the school.
Boyz II men aims to help lower the number of fights, verbal wars and graffiti at the school that is usually committed by young men who are more prone to join gangs. The program is headed by Norcom staffer and former pitcher for the Atlanta Braves baseball team, Quentin Jones. Mentors, include administrators, teachers, community leaders, business people and clergy members. Mentors meet with student members on a regular basis to help them with homework and sometimes help collect monies for after school meals or tickets to sports games. Participants of Boyz II Men often go on outings and have collected toys for patients at Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters. Other outings have included a tour of Norfolk State University where group members met staff and students, toured the campus and watched a football game.
When they are not in formal meetings, members are expected to greet each other politely and with handshakes, according to Jones, “We’re teaching them how to shake hands appropriately” and avoid using ‘hip hop’ handshakes as a way to instill respect and the proper way to behave in professional environments.
This program is funded by donations, fundraisers and even Jones himself, who personally spent $250 for the black shirts with the Boyz II Men logo on the front that members wear when they go on outings.
Until now, this program seems to be having a positive effect on its members and, only one young man in the group has been in a fight at Norcom this school year, and none show signs of gang membership”
I think it would be nice to see a Boyz II Men blog done by group members where we could stay up-to-date with developments regarding this interesting project and maybe donate money or time to this worthy cause.
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