By Yolanda Clark –
The organization’s mission has been to improve and enhance the lives of local African-American youth since 2008.
And, according to Syracuse chapter president Vincent Love, that sentiment remains at the heart of group’s goals today.
“The Syracuse chapter started in 2008, by it’s founders Walter Island and Jerome Walker,” Love said. “The two men had gone to the Million Man March in Washington, DC., and when Mr. Island and Mr. Walker returned from the march, they were inspired to do something for the Syracuse community, to take action.”
100 Black Men Syracuse is one of several chapters that have been derived from the 30-year-old, national group, 100 Black Men of America, and, the decade-old organization has continued to advance the group’s goals throughout the community today.
During the group’s first meeting, the founders gathered about 35 to 40 black men, in an effort to discuss how to best serve as mentors for young black males in Syracuse.
Subsequently, what began as a plan to start a small mentoring program in a local high school has currently grown into the development of a flourishing non-profit; one that has focused on empowering youth in the community through various programs designed to mentor black youth, and advance kids’ knowledge regarding their education, health, and wellness.
“Not long after the first meeting had taken place, another meeting was called,” Love said. “At this particular meeting, Jerome Walker invited two gentlemen from the 100 Black Men chapter, located in Albany, N.Y., to our Syracuse location. After a presentation, it was decided this organization provided the perfect template for what we wanted to do in Syracuse. From there, we figured out what would be the qualifications, and necessary actions that needed to be taken, to get a chapter started. A mentoring program was started in one of the local high schools, and it took off from there.”
Today, the organization remains committed to mentoring local youth, and anyone who may be interested in becoming involved with 100 Black Men Syracuse may visit the group’s website, at 100blackmensyr.org, or check the organization’s Facebook page for information updates.
The group has also recently launched a new mobile app, in an effort to keep the community apprised of its latest programs and services.
The organization currently holds open informational meetings on the first Tuesday of each month, at 2610 S. Salina Street.
Visit 100blackmensyr.org for additional information regarding the group.