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Posts Tagged ‘gangs’

Clint Eastwood’s film Grand Torino got to me last night.  Seeing a veteran and retired autoworker single-handedly protect his community from domestic terrorists (thugs and gangs) reminded me of JFK’s question about what can you do for your country.  In the last chapter of his life, Mr. Walter Kowalski was teaching negative and positive youth the wisdom of his value system.  Walter needed some lessons on anger management, control and dare I say political correction/cultural sensitivity.  We all can learn something from others. 

I jumped out of bed this Saturday (before day in the morning) to participate in “Cleanup Sylvester, Georgia.” As I look at the dark cloud on the horizon, I knew a rain delay might keep the event from starting.  The real looming dark cloud is the mindset of the youth and adults who toss trash on the streets with zero regard for community.  Where’s Mr. Kowalski when you need him?

RNC Chairman Michael Steele recently said there is no reason for African-Americans to vote for Republicans.  To me, our southern community has always been conservative and Blacks Who Actually Vote (BWAV) have little tolerance for Black ignorance or far Right fear-based rhetoric.  We have plenty Black Walter Kowalski here and there should medals for their actions or combat pay. Steele was basically saying that the efforts and vision of his party isn’t reaching us for whatever reason. 

Disenchanted Black conservatives tell me that their party doesn’t have an urban agenda.  On the other hand, I think the far left’s policies of tossing taxpayer money at problems isn’t working either. 

We need to address issues before they become problems (nip it in the bud).  I wrote on this blog a few months ago that First Lady Michelle Obama should start a Cease Corp to marshal community human resources (people) in an effort to share experience, knowledge and wisdom.  The Barrack Obama story is interesting and unique.  The Michelle Robinson Obama story is the blueprint for a healthy, achievement-oriented American family. Clint Eastwood, a former California mayor, should join the cause with the lessons from Grand Torino as a starting point.  

I have a feeling that Mrs. Obama post-White House service will make her one of the most significant Americans of all times.  You can see in her eyes that she is being restrictive or selective in her public statements but one day she is going to speak freely and the message for a community will be stern and golden.  It’s the direct straight talk that we don’t hear from current leaders.  She can put the “40 under 40” overachievers at the table with the “40 who drink 40s” and those who were 40 years old 40 years ago. 

The subplot of this movie was equally important.  What happens when your family has little use for you?  I say forget them and find a constructive outlet like church activities, a “play” family or maybe the Cease Corp.  Like Walter Kowalski, a neglected senior should get even in his will.

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The headline in last Thursday’s Augusta Chronicle ‘Juvenile Crime up 23% in Richmond in the last year’ was troubling.  So much so that I teamed up with a friend who manages three Waffle House restaurants and three local organizations that work directly with at-risk and disenfranchised boys to do something about it. A press conference was held Wednesday and once again the local media were there. Our CBS and NBC affiliate, our daily newspaper and the black owned weekly newspaper were there and gave us much coverage and much love. In about 24 hours, we’ve got over 60 men who have signed up to serve as mentors for our young boys. Our goal is 250 men, by August 7th, who commit to at least one hour per week with a young man. It seems we’re well on our way. We’ve even attracted people who want to help ‘recruit’ men to get involved. I’m blown away by the response we’ve received in such a short time…

The following article was featured in today’s Augusta Chronicle. http://www.augustachronicle.com

Effort seeks mentors for young males
By Stephanie TooneStaff Writer
Thursday, July 16, 2009

Helen Blocker-Adams met with media and community partners Wednesday about filling the void of father figures in the lives of Richmond County’s young males. // <![CDATA[//

Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Radio host Helen Blocker-Adams (right) and Waffle House District Manager Escubar Moore (left) want men to volunteer to be mentors for young males to help combat the rise in juvenile crime in Augusta.

Mrs. Blocker-Adams, a talk show host on WNRR-AM 1230, said she was disturbed after reading in The Augusta Chronicle that juvenile crime has increased 23 percent in the past three months, compared to the same time last year. That should be a wake-up call to Augusta, she said.

“Juvenile crime is just off the Richter scale,” she told a crowd in front of the Waffle House on Gordon Highway on Wednesday. “We have to find some surrogate fathers for these young males because a lot them don’t have one.”

She and Escubar Moore, the district manager of three Augusta Waffle House restaurants, will sponsor the Back to School Men’s Drive for Kids, a campaign to recruit positive male role models for Augusta’s male youth.

By July 27, Mrs. Blocker-Adams and Mr. Moore hope to sign up 250 men to volunteer with local mentoring agencies: Dads in Action, An Ounce of Prevention and Full Circle Refuge Juvenile Justice Ministry.

Mr. Moore said men can sign up at Waffle House locations on Gordon Highway, Deans Bridge Road and Wrightsboro Road. The men are asked to give one hour a week with one of the three mentoring agencies. About 75 men had signed up to volunteer as of Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Moore said.

“I hope we blow that number away and have even more,” he said. “That 250 hours per week can make a whole lot of difference in our community.”

Devon Harris, the executive director of the Full Circle Refuge Juvenile Justice Ministry, has worked with troubled youth for several years. He said the statistics are not surprising. A positive male in the lives of some of the young men in his program could make a difference in their lives and have an impact on the community, Mr. Harris said.

“We want to think it’s somebody else’s problem or the government’s problem, but we have to plant the seed,” he said. “These young men are looking for guidance. They want someone to invest in their lives.”

Reach Stephanie Toone at (706) 823-3215 or stephanie.toone@augustachronicle.com.

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