12 Campuses and 332 Boys Served by 84 Men
Innovations Made Us Better
Clovis Completes First Year of Honoré Program in Silverback Style
Ron Wilkerson Steps into the Role of Data Manager
Make Me Better Evaluation Report - Dr. Charles Corprew
Christopher Williams' Doctoral Thesis Researched Silverback Mentorship
Consistency Is Keyword at Our First Principal Appreciation Luncheon
Jerry Peterson Is Organizing Silverback Society, Biloxi for 2015-16
Tim Thompson to Initiate High School Chapters for Silverback Scholars
Out of our Silo! - Being part of the solution in all the ways we can
We believe that this year we have reached "critical mass", with enough elementary campuses experiencing our positive impact and enough Silverback Scholars entering the freshman year of high school that there will begin to be a significant culture shift among teenage boys in New Orleans, in school and in the parks and neighborhoods. We estimate that in total there are almost 900 young men who we have taught to think before they act, and to consider the future when doing so.
Perhaps an even bigger testimony is the way they accept fellow Silverback Scholars from different schools and different parts of town at our End of Year Celebrations, two this year to accommodate six schools and 160 or so boys at each.
Mixed in as they sit to learn the lessons embedded in The Tuskegee Airman movie, and later served lunch mixed in at tables with boys from other schools, they are calm and receptive to meeting kids they never met before. We can tell that it is a step out of their comfort zones, but self control and that willingness to step beyond the familiar is something that we know will allow them to adjust better to new situations, socially, educationally or in the workplace.
Our almost 71% growth from seven schools last year to twelve for 2014-15 with the same or better quality was supported by two changes in the way we operate. There were two new roles that volunteers stepped into that distributed the opportunity to create quality in our week to week operations. We remain a "Mean and Lean" organization still with only one full time Executive Director / Program Manger supporting over eighty committed and motivated volunteers.
Mtumishi S. Julien accepted the role of Silverback Society Campus Liaison, bringing a critical focused effort to building and maintaining relationships and critical communication with administrators at our partner schools.
Twelve men accepted the responsibility as Campus Leads, centralizing the communication of mentors at each site this year while ensuring that every session was covered by members of his team. This year the Executive Director traveled on several occasions for his Kellogg Community Leadership Fellowship and to attend important meetings and there were no hiccups in our operations. Each site operated like a well oiled machine thanks to the increased commitment of these men:
|Lawrence Clovis, Silverback Scholar from 2008-09 at Murray Henderson in Algiers has really set the bar high for Silverback Scholars who may follow him into the Honoré Center for Undergraduate Student Achievement housed on the campus of Southern University in New Orleans and led by Executive Director Warren Bell. After his first year on campus Lawrence's overall GPA was 3.28, a mark that he is deservedly proud of and an accomplishment that enhances the reputation of the Silverback Society and raises expectations and credibility for others. Lawrence is the first person in his family to attend college and is moving forward toward the kind of responsible productive manhood our Mentors and Speakers teach and model every year. Bell believes the best is yet to come from Silverback turned "Honoré Man" Lawrence Clovis.|
The Silverback Society benefits from the creativity, skill and effort of born leaders and self motivated men. Originally suggested last Summer by Ken Frick, a member of the Progressive Men of New Orleans and Mentor at Dibert, the Silverback Society Certificate of Achievement for our Silverback Scholars was created and produced by a member of The Original Dukes Social and Pleasure Club, Silverback Ron Wilkerson, a first year Mentor at Fannie C. Williams, who took on the massive task of collecting and compiling the correctly spelled names of each boy and the school he attended this year. He then had the certificate designed, printed on heavy stock, had an embossing seal made for the gold seals attached to the certificate, collated and packaged them by school and delivered them at our End of Year Ceremonies. In addition to their logo book sacks, wallets and ID cards, our boys now have a document which attests to the training and leadership they have received.
It is our hope that our growing brand and reputation for helping boys embrace personal responsibility will make these certificates valuable to them as they pursue employment and participation in educational or other developmental opportunities. Ron is also committed to maintain a data base of boys from year to year and collect data on their successes as we encounter them in our upcoming high school component which another volunteer has stepped up to lead. The certificates reads, "Let it be known that HIS NAME has been mentored and trained by the Silverback Society about the values and ways of successful responsible manhood." We have had a couple of employers agree that they would consider this certificate as a plus for a young man seeking employment with their organizations.
|In 2014-15 Dr. Charles Corprew spent an entire Silverback Society program cycle evaluating the efficacy and impact of our work in several schools. He interviewed Silverback Scholars, their teachers and school administrators and observed the changes in our boys over an entire program year. The report contains rich qualitative data, and is posted on our website. To read the report click here|
Veteran Silverback Society Mentor and Lead Mentor at James Singleton, Christopher Williams, in part stimulated by his engagement with young people over several years as a Silverback Society Mentor has achieved the doctorate degree in education.
His thesis entitled "An Exploration of the Experiences of Silverback Society Mentoring Program Mentors" is an in-depth specific study of of Silverback Society mentors in relationship to research about mentor and adult relationships impacts on children's academic achievement and behavior, and documented best practices in the mentoring field.
Silverback Society Campus Liason Mtumishi S. Julien engaged administrators and Lead Mentors at our partner schools in an open discussion about our work together at our first Principal Appreciation Luncheon on May 27th at Dooky Chase. Several administrators hailed the consistency of our mentors and St.Julien expressed our appreciation for the leadership and commitment our partner schools have invested in making the day and time of Silverback Sessions consistently available. Administrators also noted the improvement and consistency of communications between the Silverback Society this year with the new roles of Campus Liaison and Lead Mentors in place.
After serving two years as a Mentor at John Dibert, with fellow members of the Progressive Men of New Orleans Social and Pleasure Club, Silverback Pete Peterson is organizing a volunteer team and working with school officials in Biloxi Mississippi to bring the benefits of the Silverback Society to his home town.
With two years under his belt as a Mentor and his relationships to the fraternal, professional and business sectors in Biloxi. Peterson is the ideal "seed" to begin the process of growing a Biloxi version of the Silverback Society.
We are experiencing interest from other cities as well, and we are beginning to design a process for to train people in other places our very specific and positive way of engaging our boys, but this expansion to Biloxi happens organically simply because for the last two years, Pete committed to and has driven to New Orleans for each and every Silverback Session at Dibert.
|Silverback Mentor since 2009 and Lead Mentor at Gentilly Terrace for 2014-15, Tim Thompson will take the lead in creating a high school arm for the Silverback Society with the aim of staying in communication with and being supportive of Silverback Society Scholars as the progress through high school. This role is becoming important as more and more people view Silverback Scholars as ideal candidates for enrichment programs and employment. Our initial idea is to create Silverback Society "Chapters", led by upperclassmen and monitored by volunteers with supplies and activities supported by Silverback Society, Inc.|
While we are committed to doing what we do well and doggedly retaining the model that creates our success, there is much that we have learned about engaging adolescent boys and feel a responsibility to share wherever and whenever we can. Our Executive Director participated on a 2nd day panel on at the Tulane Summit on NOLA Youth organized by Dr. Oscar Barbarin at Tulane's School of Social Work. At the panel entitled "Reflection and Community Solution Focused Conversations", Local leaders in education and youth services had an opportunity to hear from and respond to a panel of African American Students who were matriculating at Tulane. In the photo Karen "KG" Marshall of Kids Rethink New Orleans speaks as Minh Nguyen of VAYLA New Orleans takes notes and Silverback Society Executive Director Lloyd Dennis. listens intently.
In an effort to grow our knowledge base and share the lessons we have learned over the years, to the extent that time and commitments permit we have been engaged with several organizations and when we are invited participate in forums on panels and and projects aimed at creating or implementing solutions. We have held workshops for and done presentations to staffs of some of our partner schools, helping them understand our 100% positive approach to working with adolescent boys. This year we have served on the advisory board of the Urban League's New Orleans Project Ready program, Congressman Richmonds Youth Advisory Group, assisted U.S.Attorney Kenneth Polite's staff in the development and implementation of his Crescent City Keepers youth development effort. Our E.D. serves as a motivational speaker every two weeks for young people beginning their studies at the New Orleans Job Corps, and is a member of their Community Relations Council. "We want to be useful in any effort to better serve young people, and we have learned much about engaging young people over the years."