Monday, February 25, 2008

The Journey to Manhood

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.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Snapshot of the Next Generation

Mariama McGhee
Youth Initiatives Project/University Prep High School

I’m a photographer in training and I have decided to take pictures of the activities occurring during the Male Summit, scheduled for Saturday, March 8, 2008 at the Grace Church of the Nazarene. Before I explain the photography part, I would like to explain the Male Summit. The Male Summit is for teen males who want to learn how to develop as leaders. Male Peer Educators from the NSO/Youth Initiatives Project (YIP) prepare them to become positive role models. A lot of the teen males attend a leadership class so they can talk about the problems males face and do group work. Everyone has to participate and work together.

The reason why I wanted to take pictures of the Male Summit is because I love male leadership. It’s great to see young males step up to take charge. We hear a lot about female leaders, but we rarely see enough of teen male leadership. In this generation we are trying hard to help the teen male regain his ability to do something important again. What is life with no bright future?

The Male Summit will be both challenging and fun. Young males have to attend so they can develop a goal. Their leadership class provides speech training and leadership skills, but the summit gives them a chance to present their work to the community. It’s all about practice and focus.

Soon more and more males will join YIP and pass on their teachings to others. Our generation will be renewed. More male leaders will make Detroit’s future brighter. Maybe they will change the world for the better. They can put an end to chaos and violence.

As you can see, I’m not looking for the perfect shot. I want to capture young males having discussions with each other. I also want to capture the work of our male Peer Educators as they lead the discussions. After the event, I hope to take a group picture of the youth who planned the event, our moderator, Charles Pugh of FOX 2 News and our guest panelists. When I set my pictures up for display, I want people to realize the hard work our male youth are doing to help the city of Detroit. It’s not just the picture itself; it’s what’s represented in the picture.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Tikresha Warren
Columbus Middle School/Youth Initiatives Project

Violence is not always the way to solve a problem. Violence can lead minors 12 and under into bad situations if they see people handling things with violence. They might end up doing the same thing because they’ve seen that person or gang do it.

I think that teens should stop the violence and become mentors like V'Lecia Hunter a.k.a. (The Queen). They would see a much brighter future coming their way. That is one way to handle violence.

I believe that violence will not help you. It will just bring you to things like negative peer pressure. Violence will not follow you through life and help you make it through school. Violence will just start more fuel to your fire.

In conclusion I believe in STOPPING the violence because in my neighborhood people just keep doing violence and I want to stop it because Martin L. King wouldn’t like it. Rosa wouldn’t like it. So I believe that you shouldn’t believe in violence. You should just believe in yourself and trust you will make it very far in the future. So people stand up if you don’t believe in violence!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

In Society today.......

Mark Simmons,Senior
Youth Initiatives Project/University Preparatory High School
In today’s society there are many issues that the black community is faced with everyday. The effects of racism, single parent homes and the number of African American families on welfare are among some of the major issues we face today but the biggest issue of all is black on black crime. A study shows African Americans kill themselves more than any other race and for what cost? More African American males are being killed than born. It is very shameful to see African Americans eliminate their own race.
Black on black violence is getting worse everyday. In today’s society an African American male can get killed for saying the wrong street name or even wearing the wrong colors. This makes me wonder what have we become? How can we go from fighting for our rights as a people to fighting each other? It’s sad to know that if I walk down an unknown street at a certain time of night it’s a possibility that I could get jumped or if I happen to wear some thing of value I could get robbed and killed.
The African American communities in known for coming together as a whole so why are we so separate? People have said that African American males are quickly becoming extinct and we are proving that fact each and everyday. We are destroying a dream that many of our civil rights have made a reality. We are defeating the purpose of our freedom.
How it is possible that we have came so far to just throw it all away so easily? African American males feel as if they have to live a certain life to be accepted by their piers. They do not seem to understand that it is ok to do well in school and go on to have successful careers. I believe that the mindset that we have is all wrong and we must change our way before the whole African American race become extinct.

10 Recommendations

V'Lecea Hunter, Senior
Youth Initiatives Project/University Preparatory High School
Due to all of the violence that has been happening at different schools, I would like to give out some recommendations on promoting peace in schools. I believe that a child shouldn’t have to go to school feeling scared or obligated to fight just to fit in. I also believe that school is a place where a child receives an education so that they can go further in life, but with all of this negativity happen it’s a big problem for some people to focus.

Recommendation #1: Community/ School Leader~ someone who is willing to step up
and speak out for what they believe in.

Recommendation #2: Adult Ally~ a staff member that is not afraid to be heard and is
willing to step up and help the students

Recommendation #3: After School Programs

Recommendation #4: Support Groups

Recommendation #5: Mentors

Recommendation #6: More consequences instead of always suspended the student

Recommendation #7: Encouragement

Recommendation #8: Positive role models, when a teens is around negativity, then he or
she will be negative, so having positive role models will direct the
students in the right path

Recommendation #9: More Community Programs

Recommendation #10: All students should learn how to respect one another!!

All of these recommendations, I have tried and I have turned people around. So, with my outcomes I feel as though they are useful and can bring peace. When a person wants a change, it should start within them. So, if you want to bring peace into the schools, it won’t hurt for you to begin speaking up.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Big Picture

Jasmine Ancton

Youth Initiatives Project
University Preparatory High School

When I think of hugs not bullets. I think of small children. I wonder how they feel and think when they hear those gun shots. I wonder are they scared or are they happy. Have people ever really thought about the young children and what they do when they hear the shots every year. I guess people never really notice how some families get on their floors at night. Why can’t we wish everyone a Happy New Year on the phone and have to wait until the gun shots are done. We can’t even bring in the New Year with hugs because we don’t want a gun bullet to creep into our homes and hit on of us.

I don’t know if people really understand the purpose that Hugs Not Bullets hold. We would like the citizens of America to stop the tradition of shooting in the air on New Years Day. Instead of shooting why not start the year off with a friendly hug? When shooting in the air on the first day of the year, that basically means you want to start the New Year off with violence and negativity. But when giving a hug that’s positive and to start off that day/year with that type of attitude is great.

American children are more at risk from firearms than children of any other industrialized nation. In one year, firearms killed no children in Japan, 19 in Great Britain, 57 in Germany, 109 in France, 153 in Canada and 5,285 in the United States. (Centers for Disease Control)

America is losing too many children to gun violence. Between 1979 and 2001, gun fire killed 90,000 children and teens and America.
(Children’s Defense Fund and National center for Health Statistics)

In one year, more children and teens died from gunfire than from cancer, pneumonia, influenza, asthma, and HIV/AIDS combined. (Children’s Defense Fund)

The rate of firearm deaths among kids under age 15 is almost 12 times higher in the United States than in 25 other industrialized countries combined. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Look at those statistics……get the picture?

More Leaders Needed

Norman Jones
Youth Initiatives Project
University Prep High School
One of the the biggest problems with our city is the is the lack of leadership we have. I say this because to many terrible things goes on in the city and we need people to step up and stop this from happing. In a single year, 3,012 children and teens were killed by gunfire in the United States, according to the latest national data released in 2002. That is one child every three hours; eight children every day; and more than 50 children every week. And every year, at least 4 to 5 times as many kids and teens suffer from non- fatal fireman injuries. ( Children’s Defense Fund and National Center for Health Statistics)
America is losing too many children to gun violence. Between 1979 and 2001, gunfire killed 90,000 children and teens in America. In one year, more children and teens died from gunfire than from cancer, pneumonia, influenza, asthma, and HIV/AIDS combined. The rate of fireman deaths among kids under age 15 is almost 12 times higher in the United States than in 25 other industrialized countries combined. ( Children’s Defense Fund and National Center for Health Statistics)
I feel that these statistics are terrible and that they should be addressed by people stepping up. In a typical house hold its ran by the man, woman, and the child. Its ran in that order so I feel that’s the way it should be ran by the city. The man is the head person in charge and makes the big decisions. The woman is the person who makes sure everything is together and is going right. The woman is also there to be there for her man. The child is there to be a good child and learn from there parents so they can do the same when they become adults.
I just feel that everyone in the city needs to step and make a difference in the community. I just think it needs to start with the MEN! To start that off Y.I.P is having there 2nd annual male teen summit March 8, 2008. Come out and help make a difference in the city and also be a Leader.

Being A Leader Is The New Fad

Joshua Pelt University Prep High School

I wonder what it is that makes youth ashamed to be a positive leader. I have noticed that it’s not hard to be a leader as a young lady or man now, but why must youth be influenced to follow the negative leaders? For example gangs are one of the most negative ways to become a leader, but are continuously becoming the most popular way to be a leader. It’s time to make a difference! I feel like if I can make a change anyone can do it. I stepped up to change my life and become a leader of Youth Initiative Project and to make a difference in youth and the future. “Being a Leader Is the New Fad”. Everyone wants to be a leader so make the right choice-- become a part of Y.I.P today.
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