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Turning Talk into Action: 100 Black Men of Coastal North Carolina

Written by Jacentia Kinsey, Senior Graphic Designer, Greater Diversity News on 23 December 2013.

Jacentia Kinsey The 100 Black Men of America Incorporated is an international organization with chapters in a number of different cities and continents around the globe.  Of the various different chapters, they are located in places such as Atlanta, Buffalo, Birmingham, Memphis, Detroit, and Little Rock-- just to name a few.  Many may not know, but there is also a chapter right here in Wilmington, NC that is called the 100 Black Men of Coastal North Carolina.  Mr. Max Allen is the current president of the Coastal Carolina Chapter which has been operating in Wilmington since 2008.

Having the name 100 Black Men of America would lead one to believe that each chapter has 100 members; however that is not necessarily the case.  The organization of these various chapters differ in size, the Coastal Carolina Chapter currently has a membership roster of approximately 30 members.  Of these 30 members, some work full-time and others are retired, but all of them volunteer their time to come together in accomplishing the 100 Black Men of America, Inc. purpose.  That purpose is to provide a service to our community that helps young African American males through mentorship. This year the Coastal Carolina Chapter has been focusing on two new initiatives involving both Williston Middle School and Leland Middle School students.  Members strive to do their part in helping to eliminate social stigmatism, particularly within the African American community.  While the program is not limited to African American males, that has become the primary focus of mentors.  The chapter targets issues such as student education and enlightening students on how education beyond elementary, middle and high school can keep them from following the wrong path in life.  There are many other components that are taught from any topics concerning health and wellness,  social issues to economic empowerment topics, such as being financially responsible, balancing a checkbook, and striving towards individual dreams. 

Not to be confused with a tutoring program, the 100 Black Men of Coastal North Carolina strives to be more of a big brother to young males.  Mentors make it clear that they are not there to act as a parent, but more as an additional resource that students can turn to for positive guidance. There is little disagreement that large numbers of black males face an inordinate number of problems and hardships which set them apart from the rest of the US population.  Establishing a level of trust with participants is vital in trying to help them cope with society and overcome adversity without falling victim to the many ills of society.  Beyond the classroom, with parental permission, students are taken on field trips to visit a college or university, and other fun activities such as bowling or a sports game. Through a combination of different activities, mentors hope to make a difference in the lives of the program participants.

Everyone talks about solutions to the issues plaguing our youth, 100 Black Men of America is an organization that is turning that talk into action.  This year, Coastal Carolina Chapter members will be traveling to Orlando, Florida joining other 100 Black Men members from across the country for a leadership retreat.  Also, last year kicked off the first annual fundraiser to provide scholarships to students who participate in the mentoring program on the high school level. An awards ceremony was held this past August to present those scholarships to graduating seniors. When asked what drives Mr. Allen to continue this program, he simply states “..that’s pretty easy, I think if you talk to any member that is involved in the 100 they will tell you it’s the passion in making  sure that we all give back to these young men. The future direction of our country depends on them.” African American males lead the charge in several categories when it comes to school dropout rates, fatherless homes, drug addiction and poverty.  By mentoring and connecting with students at the middle school and high school level, perhaps these statistics can be reversed. Young men need to know that whatever distractions that take place, whether it’s in their home, school or community are going to come along but they must have a goal and stay focused on that goal.  100 Black Men of Coastal Carolina is here to help them achieve and be successful. 

If you are interested in learning more about the 100 Black Men of Coastal Carolina organization or even becoming a volunteer you can visit their website at http://100bmcoastalnc.org/ or email Mr. Max Allen at 100bmcoastalnc@gmail.com