“What they see, they will be.”
These words are the guidepost for the work of 100 Black Men, a national mentoring organization whose Atlanta chapter was founded in 1986. Entrepreneur Nathanial Goldstein started the local group to combat issues facing the city’s underprivileged youth, particularly young black men.
Working with the B.E.S.T. Academy, an all-male public school in the Atlanta Public School System, the group focuses on helping students achieve academic, social, and emotional success. Throughout the course of their high school experience, the 100 Black Men of Atlanta organization provides critical guidance and support with an overarching goal of getting the men through high school and on to college.
And they’ve been quite successful in this endeavor: 100% of the students who participate in the program graduate from high school.
100 Black Men of Atlanta’s Project Success Program helps students with college prep and tuition assistance, working with students as young as the 3rd grade. Students in the program must commit to all the organization’s standards and participation guidelines, and the student’s parent/guardian must also express interest and involvement in the program. Similarly, the Project Success 100 Scholar Program accepts students with a 3.0 GPA (or a 2.5 GPA with a 90th percentile standardized test score) and includes the 100 Academy (a Saturday school program), health & wellness programs, and family and youth empowerment initiatives.
Students who complete this program are eligible for a $3,000 per semester college scholarship, breaking down financial barriers and encouraging college attendance. At the college level, 100 Black Men also hosts the Collegiate 100, a coed, professional development program in which members act as mentors and tutors to the younger participants. Students from local Atlanta colleges and universities take part, including Georgia State, Georgia Tech, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse, and Spelman.
Locally, the group’s 100 men actually total nearly 200, and include Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young. Mentors also come from a variety of different backgrounds, including STEM, entrepreneurship, and even music. Chief Operating Officer Dr. Kevin James believes that these kinds of notable memberships help the young men they work with envision a brighter future.
“It’s so important, he said, “to be able to demonstrate to the students that they have positive black men out there who are doing something and making a difference.”
“It’s important for those individuals to be mentored by someone who have gone down that path that they can then follow,” James added.
The 100 Black Men of Atlanta Chapter is hosting a golf tournament, the 100 Golf Classic, on April 10th at the Manor Golf and Country Club. The event is sponsored by Georgia Power and proceeds will go toward Project Success.
For more information on the event, or on how to get involved with the organization, visit www.100blackmen-atlanta.org.