Mentoring our future
Mar 03, 2013 | 374 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Accepted standards for defining children most at risk often include socioeconomics, parental involvement, accessibility to role models, quality of available education and peer pressure, among a myriad of other societal influences.

Sometimes one, maybe two or more, of the above factors can be overcome by the young child given his or her individual level of commitment to forge a better life for the years that lie ahead.

But too often the child can’t do it alone. And when a positive adult force — whether parent, grandparent, guardian or foster care — is not available, or willing, then all hope rests with the village.

In this case, our community village refers to a widely respected organization known as 100 Black Men of Bradley County Inc. Most know the name. Many know the mission. All who have ever shared in its work best understand the vision.

Since earning its charter almost 20 years ago, this league of African-American male leaders in our Cleveland hometown, through partnerships with multiple businesses and industries, has made possible more than $750,000 in scholarships. Currently, the 100 BMBC’s Mentoring Program is working with 46 mentees whose ages range from 11 to 13.

Their volunteerism comes from the heart.

Their dedication to the young people of this community is unconditional.

Their results in serving as positive influences in the lives of these impressionable youngsters is unparalleled.

As with many splendid organizations within our community — nonprofit or otherwise — 100 Black Men of Bradley County has its finger on the pulse of young people’s needs, especially those whose lives can be touched through a grassroots effort aimed at “Breaking the Cycle, Reaching Out and Reaching Back.”

Fittingly, 100 BMBC will hold its annual Scholarship and Mentoring Banquet next Saturday evening, March 9, in the Deacon Jones Dining Hall on the beautiful Lee University campus. The festive celebration, which is a scholarship and mentoring fundraiser, will run from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Priced at $60 each, tickets are selling quickly. They may be purchased from any 100 BMBC member or at the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce at 423-472-6587.

Why buy a ticket and attend this tribute to the successes of our children? Such a question is best answered by Ronald Arnold, 100 BMBC president, who recently told our newspaper, “[It’s] good for the children because it shows them the public is interested in their future. This is all for our children. And, those who attend the banquet will get to hear a vibrant and electric speaker.”

Set to deliver Saturday’s keynote address is Vincent Ivan Phipps, founder and CEO of Communication VIP, a Chattanooga-based company specializing in leadership and communications training. An author of four books, which include “Talk Tips” and “Mastering the Art of Success,” Phipps is a welcomed speaker because he will bring to those children in the audience — as well as the full house of adults — a portrait of success by an African-American, or perhaps more appropriately, an American who is black.

It is a proven fact that children will follow the path of supportive adults whose direction will not lead them astray. Boys will follow good men. Girls will follow good women. Boys and girls will learn from good men and good women.

It is not rocket science, nor is it a modern-day miracle.

It is simply a matter of adults doing the right thing, and that is to raise our community’s children as they would raise their own.

This is the work of 100 Black Men of Bradley County.

This is the good this group brings to our hometown.

We applaud the perseverance of the organization. We salute the tireless efforts of its members. And we congratulate all — mentors and mentees — for another year of making a difference.

We hope for a crowded banquet hall on this splendid evening.

It will be a night of promise heard by all.