Opinion Columns & Blogs

Be a 'keeper' to young black men

"Am I my brother's keeper?" asked a young man in the Bible who did not care about his brother. He asked the question sarcastically to hide the evil deed he had done.

Right now, evil is being done to many of our young black males and females. The lack of making our children's education a priority is setting them up to fail in society.

As a parent community resource specialist, I visited five Wichita schools over the past three weeks. Teachers, faculty and staff asked that I visit more often. Their concern was young black men who were either below grade level in most of their subjects or so disruptive in class that they kept other children from paying attention. Most of the young men did not have fathers or male role models to help them.

Dads, uncles, friends and neighbors: We need you. There is no one to blame for our failing children but us.

If you are laid off, you could be volunteering in the school while you look for work. If you have a job, there is a school where you can volunteer in the morning before you go to work, at lunch or at an evening program.

Thirty minutes to a hour a month is all we ask. You can get involved in programs such as Watch Dogs, Dads of Destiny and Heroes of the Hallway.

Pastors: Your presence would change the school environment, and a significant number of our children's academic lives would improve.

Little League coaches: Aren't you tired of seeing athletes you coached sitting in the stands in middle school and high school because they could not make the grade? Find some time to come to their academic nights or visit a classroom. Sit in the "red chair" and help that star running back become a star academically.

Parents: Your child's assessment tests are coming up. Each school should have assessment material to go over with your child. You don't have to be an expert to show your child flash cards and go over the vocabulary on the assessment test. Having concerned parents and male mentors at parent-teacher conferences or math nights can make a difference in the academic success or failure of our children.

Parents: We are supposed to train up a child in the way he or she should go. But too many of our children are being trained up to go straight to nowhere or dead-end jobs.

Parents/men: Where are you? We are their keepers. Step up and help a young man today. You don't have to be the best reader, multiplier or English major to help a student. Just give some time. Your presence makes the difference. If you have questions about getting involved, you can call me at 316-308-4036 or 316-973-5147.