Post Number: 1105
|Posted on Friday, March 16, 2007 - 10:43 am: || |
Three stories in the local papers really caught my attention in the last few days. All of them point to the dire need for more role models, especially males, to step up in the lives of Detroit's youth. If crime is the city's biggest problem, mentoring is probably the tool that can make the biggest difference.
The first story is about a gang shooting in Southwest Detroit.
Marred graffiti costs teen's life
Detroit cops: Gangs knew gunman as Little Capone
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs .dll/article?AID=/20070316/NEW S01/703160480
I'm assuming the alleged shooter doesn't have a father or big brother figure in his life since the story talks about only his mother and sister showing up at the arraignment. It also details how he allegedly admitted to a long history of gang involvement. But the victim, who has an active father, was doing well in school and moving toward a long, successful life.
The second story is about the need for more volunteers, especially men, for Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Buddying up for education: Metro students in dire need of mentors
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pb cs.dll/article?AID=/20070315/S CHOOLS/703150382
The story describes a mentor as "a person who shares experience, knowledge and wisdom about a particular occupation, homework assignments or courses of action and behavior. But there aren't enough mentors to go around." It further points out that there are more than 1,400 kids in Metro Detroit on waiting lists for a mentor and that some schools even stopped making waiting lists because the kids would be on there too long and become discouraged. This shows, IMO, that there are thousands of kids yearning for more positive role models in their life, but not enough get them. Without that role model, who knows what path they'll choose. At least with a role model, there is somebody to point them in the right direction.
The third story is about how Mayor Kilpatrick understands this problem and is calling out the adults in Metro Detroit to step up.
Mayor's challenge to Detroiters: We must stop 'us killing us'
He vows war on crime in State of City speech
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pb cs.dll/article?AID=/20070314/M ETRO/703140431/1003
In response to the graffiti shooting the mayor's spokesman quoted him as saying, "This is why we as adults need to reengage with our children. We need to engage in our schools; we need to engage in our households; we need to engage in our communities and neighborhoods." Maybe a mentor could have stopped this shooting. Maybe there was one, or the equivalent of one, and this still happened. I don't know. But I do know that a huge chunk of crime is committed by young adults. Often by young adults without enough positive role models in their lives. This isn't an indictment of single motherhood. I'm not knocking the, more than likely, one person in a child's life who is being responsible and doing the right thing. The 11-year-old I mentor in Southwest Detroit only has his grandmother, and she does a noble job of taking care of him and giving him a solid home. But he has really started to become much better behaved and does much better in school since I came into his life last fall. And its mutually beneficial. This kid has taught me more about myself and improving myself than anything else in the last six months. I'm not saying this is the cure all or that every mentoring match will turn out rosy, but in most cases it does. So much so that I would strongly encourage anyone complaining about crime to seriously explore the option of stepping up as a mentor. It's probably the most proactive thing an everyday Joe can do to make their community better. I didn't meant to turn this into a rant, but this something that definitely needs to be talked about more.