Last week, I spent some time mentoring High School students from Dunbar Vocational High School. Dunbar High School is a four-year vocational High School in the Bronzeville area of Chicago’s south side.
Notable alumni include Oscar-winning actress Jenifer Hudson, Mr T and the late Lou Rawls to mention a few. We were there on invitation by the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO), they organized a career mentoring program in conjunction with my church and other community stake holders.
I had a wonderful time there, however, as I sat there watching and listening to the professionals tell stories about their successes and failures, it hit me. Our future, that is (the teenagers/youths ) will only become as good as what we the adults are willing to invest in them.
When you look at the lives of successful individuals regardless of their fields, you will find out that at some point in their lives, they had good role models that guided them and invested quality time to ensure their success.
On the other hand, we can trace a lot of the dysfunction in the lives of many youths today to a lack of positive role models, absentee fathers and good mentors. It is so easy to look down on the youths especially in the African American community, in fact they make up an invincible force that is often relegated to the background, that is until there is a shooting somewhere involving teenagers.
Time Magazine’s, June 10th 2013 issue which features Mayor Rahm Emanuel (Chicago’s Mayor) on its front cover, reported a startling statistic. David Von Drehle, in his article titled “His Kind Of Town” said that 77% of the Chicago murders in the past year were black on black crimes. 54% of the offenders are 15 to 24 years old. 44% of the victims are also the same age.
Not to get political or anything but common sense tells me that this should not be the case. Although the government is doing all it can, I still believe that prevention is better than cure. If parents and good people step to the plate to mentor a youth and invest positively in the lives of these kids, I think the future will be bright.
Only God knows, how many teenagers in prison today would have avoided that fate if someone had taken interest in them and mentored them. I also wonder how many shootings on the south side of Chicago could have been avoided as well.
Mentoring is relational interaction, it involves time but it is also a way to empower another by sharing experiences, wisdom and positive tips for success.
In 1 Thessalonians 2:8, Apostle Paul says, “So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.”
I am not naive enough to think that mentorship is the only solution, but it is a start. Life is wholesome when it is lived for others not just ourselves. God bless.
Decision for today: No more excuses, Lord help me to use my gifts, hurts and passions to help the next generation.
Question for today: What investments are you making in the next generation?