100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge using mentorship, programs to help curb youth violence
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Amid another violent week in Baton Rouge, one local organization is continuing their mission to help curb the problem.
The 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge instituted two programs that they believe will have a long-term effect on youth in our area.
Project Excel is the group’s flagship mentoring program that’s designed to work with middle and high school Black males to develop life skills, improve academic performance and citizenship.
Respect 4 Life is their newest program where they target the most at-risk youths across the city’s local high schools and offer mentorship, job skills training, counseling and other tools to lead them on the right path.
As of September, they have nearly 370 students signed up between both programs.
Executive Director Dadrius Lanus says youth violence makes up more than half of the incidents that happen in Baton Rouge. He says everyone has to play a part in curbing this problem.
“I’ve been here my entire life. If I don’t do anything, who will,” Lanus asked.
“We’re trying to desensitize in a way where we can get rid of this sense of normalcy of violence that’s happening in our community. We’re trying to wash it out their brains. We want them to feel safe, but also know this is a safe space that you can change. This is your second chance,” Lanus said.
Lanus says he can already see the impact.
“They understood it was a safe space and they were allowed to say what they needed to say, and that was true comfort for them, but even the ones that don’t say they need help, you can see it on their faces. You can see it in the tears they have in their eyes when they think about the traumatic effects that has happened in their neighborhoods and their homes. Those are the types of students we want to help,” said Lanus.
This has led to other parents wanting to follow suit.”I just feel like you can never have enough hands on, hands involved in a child’s life,” Michelle Antionette Taylor said.Lanus says they cannot do this alone.He’s inviting other groups and organizations to the table to join the cause.
“When a child as young as 12-years-old can pick up a gun and think that’s cool… stop the violence. It almost makes me tear up thinking about it because we had a 3-year-old that died right down the street that was shot in the middle of the night. Stop the violence,” Lanus said.
For more information on their programs and how you can join, click here.
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