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The value a mentor has to society should be measured, acknowledged and rewarded. Shouldn’t society rather see young African-American males employed instead of being tempted to live a life of crime? So today, I took on the role of mentor.
I remember how hard it was as a young man to find employment. I had nobody to help me understand or walk through this process. I even had education and a strong family support system in place. Those passed on a daily basis without these advantages are too many to count. Today, the least I could do was take Rich and Rob to various employers, places that would hire felons.
Both Rich and Rob started the mentoring process very early. Now they are in their mid twenties. Both have spotty employment records. Both were real knuckleheads as youth. Neither finished high school on time. One still has no G.E.D. Both went to church as youth and raised hell both inside and out. Rich blames me for being a Christian. Let me correct this, he acknowledges me as the one responsible for introducing him to a relationship with Christ…Rob never really embraced that "Christianity thing." Neither was old enough to have been written about in my book, Understanding and Ministering to Hip Hop Youth. Neither have children.
I am writing about today’s experience for two reasons. The value of a mentor needs to be recognized. Secondly, there needs to be some good news to report about when dealing with urban and "hip-hop" youth. Neither Rob nor Rich are locked up with extensive criminal records. Given their background as young black men, that is an encouragement. I can check on past youth and students in two ways. If they are on Facebook, this means that they are doing relatively well. At least they have computer skills. Otherwise, I can check the Department of Correction web site and find usually find the rest.