My name is David Bellomy. I am a senior at Cass Technical High School, but more importantly I am a mentor to young African American Males in Southeast Detroit, under the Male Initiatives Project. Yes, allow me to reiterate that point. I, a 17 year old black young man, am a mentor to other young men who have found themselves in uncompromising positions. The Male Initiatives Project is a program centered on the young males in our community. It is a program with a goal to not only educate our young men, but also to prepare them for the world. The beauty of the program is that it is youth driven. It’s just the fellas. We come together and do something that is almost un- heard of. No, we don’t gamble, get high, or drink, we talk, and not about girls or sports. We talk about life decisions, leadership, the makings of a man, and most important of all we talk about our future. My job is not to tell my guys how to live there lives, but rather to get them to see that they have control over their lives. I have come to the conclusion that the problem is so many of the young men in our community are afraid to take responsibility for their own actions because at the end of the day they want someone else to blame for why they have found themselves in a bad situation. One of my biggest challenges with working with the young men has been trying to get them to realize that when its all said in done its not, “The Man’s” fault, mommy’s fault, that teacher’s fault, or anybody else. It is your decision on whether you go to school, your decision on whether you get a job, and move out of momma’s house, because it is YOUR LIFE AND YOUR FUTURE.
I don’t want you to get the wrong idea and think that I am this all mighty perfect individual because the truth is I’m not. I have found myself in some of the same situations as a lot of these young men. The only difference was that I got a second chance or didn’t get caught and learned from it. That is why I am so passionate about helping my brothers, because I could have been in their same predicament.
This program is not here to teach a boy how to be a man, because the truth is I’m not a man, but I am on my way. I have the potential to be a great man. This is what the Male Initiatives project is for; to help young men discover and build upon there potential so that in the future they will be able to do the same. One of my favorite quotes, which I live by and have told my guys before, is from 1 Corinthians 13 “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” This quote says it all. It holds the message that I believe is the key to every boy reaching manhood, and it is the message that I believe will change the lives of many.