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We have to become more imaginative about the ways in which we deliver mentoring services to Black boys and men. It’s critical to adapt to current circumstances and work with individuals to prepare them for long-term success.That requires innovation.
When successful mentoring practices are discovered, they need to be shared widely with diverse communities who can benefit from those practices. Dr. Renaldo C. Blocker, in consultation with his distinguished Executive Committee, has developed the Renaldo C. Blocker Foundation. The Foundation’s primary focus is the “Why You?” Initiative.
The “Why You?” Initiative taps into the power of social media to build lasting relationships with high school, undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate students as well as young professionals who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. The initiative closes many of the gaps found in mentoring services by using social media as the preferred method of communication. The Renaldo C. Blocker Foundation provides mentees across the nation with a personal mentor. Each mentor stays in contact with his or her mentee on a daily basis and the mentee has 24 /7 access to the mentor.
Many mentors have career obligations that prevent them from providing mentoring services to mentees around the clock, but the “Why You?” Initiative recognizes this as a critical gap in mentoring services and has taken steps to correct this issue.
Research reveals that Black male students academically underperform all of their peers throughout every level of education. The “Why You?” Initiative combines mentoring with a range of services that aim to remove barriers to academic success. Some of the many diverse services offered through this initiative are mathematics, writing workshops, standardized test preparation, research, internship experiences and scholarship and fellowship support.
Strong investments in the “Why You?” Initiative can help diminish the academic achievement gap that exists between Black male students and their peers.
To learn how you can support marginalized and disadvantaged young black men across the country, go to whyyou.org.
Mr. Antonio Maurice Daniels is a Research Associate in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis (ELPA) obtaining his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also blogs at Revolutionary Paideia.
Image courtesy Jose Vilson.