Steve Harvey Foundation brings Detroit mentors, mentees together
By Donald Barnes
Special to the Michigan Citizen
The Steve Harvey Mentoring Initiative held a three-day mentoring program for 100 Detroit-area teenage boys Sept. 27 -29 at the Northwest Activities Center.
Boys in grades 8-12 from single-mother households each wrote a 300-word essay about not having a father in their life. Applicants were selected based on the quality of the essay.
The program included numerous guest speakers, outside sport activities and a seminar on bullying. The boys were organized in groups that remained together throughout the program with group leaders earning a certificate of appreciation on the final day.
Shannon McCary, one of the young men in the program, participated in the creation of a skit about bullying. “We wanted (the other young men) to understand bullying is serious and how the ‘bullied’ can be hurt mentally and physically, “ he said. “(Bullying) is not a joke and it is not funny!”
Steve Harvey made an appearance on the first day, congratulating the boys and giving them a few words of advice.
Among the long list of mentors, Pastor Marvin L. Winans, Judge Craig Strong and former pro-basketball player Mateen Cleaves were in attendance during the three-day weekend. Cleaves was the keynote speaker for the closing ceremony. “I think this is fantastic for Steve to do this, especially with him not being from (Detroit),” Cleaves told the Michigan Citizen. “I think these boys are really benefiting from it. I commend Steve Harvey for putting this together.”
Cleaves spoke from experience about life growing up in an urban community. “I used to be the cat with the hat to the back sagging … I’m straight from the hood,” he said. He urged parents to use this program as a launching pad for providing their child with sound guidance.
“It’s about the follow-up in these types of situations,” Cleaves said. “The parents have to step up. When the kids come home, talk to them and interact with them. Steve’s doing his part, we have to keep it going.”
Parent Shannon Carter wants more mentoring programs for boys in the surrounding areas and better resources for fatherless teens. “It’s unfortunate that there are young men out there with their fathers not around,” Carter said. “I think we as a community, parents and church leaders need to help our young men understand the value of themselves.”
The executive director of Detroit Impact, Calvert Colbert, looks to funnel participants into a year-round mentoring program. A youth leadership program for 23 years, Detroit Impact provides the integration of studies for youth 13-17 years old. Detroit Impact sponsored the event. “As I look at this weekend, I see it as the beginning. I want them to take away that this is where they start to see things different,” Colbert told the Michigan Citizen. “It’s the mission of Detroit Impact to become their mentoring resource center. We are committed to working with these young men throughout the year.”
Detroit Impact will work to find mentees a one-on-one mentor throughout the year.
“This is also a call to the community,” Colbert said. “We need more men to step up to the role of being mentors to these young men.”