Every Wednesday, 9-year-old Valonte gets up an hour earlier than usual for school.
He jumps out of bed, scarfs down breakfast and hurries to Michael R. White School, where he is greeted by a group of men dressed in suits. The men are members of 100 Black Men of Greater Cleveland, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the quality of life and creating opportunities for African American communities, and they’re there to tutor Valonte and his classmates.
CMSD Chief Executive Officer Eric Gordon calls mentoring a critical need for his students. The District offers a variety of mentoring and tutoring opportunities for students, including the True2U program for every eighth-grade student. Some programs, like the 100 Black Men, target the unique needs of specific students.
100 Black Men of Greater Cleveland, Inc. (100 BMOGC) successfully deliver weekly mentoring programs in conjunction with the Cleveland Municipal School District (CMSD). The mentoring arm of this 100 Black Men chapter has been reaching boys at two schools for over two years. Morning session are conducted with third grade male students, aimed at boosting students’ readiness to meet Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee, a requirement to move on to fourth grade, The mentors regularly discuss student progress with a focus on the following:
- Reading Skils
- Academic Progress
Afternoon sessions focus on leadership development of fourth and fifth grade male students that include the following one-on-one and small group sessions:
- Personal Hygiene
- Respecting Authority
- Respecting Girls and Women
- African American History
- Positive Self Image Exercise
“We’re here to be a positive force in the lives of these students and show them something different than what they’re accustomed to seeing,” Carrington said.