The Silverback Society is much more than one man's creation.
Silverback Jimmie Woods, CEO of Metro Disposal honored by Boy Scouts
On Thursday, August 8, 2013 the Southeast Louisiana Council, Boy Scouts of America presented their 2013 Whitney M. Young, Jr. Service Award to Mr. Frank B. Stewart, Jr.and Mr. Jimmie Woods. In addition to his stallworth support of Scouting in New Orleans, Jimmie Woods is also a menber of the Silverback Society and a prime example of the kind of men who have joined arms to make a difference. For more information about his role and the roles of other outstanding men in the ambitious growth of the Silverback Society movement read the "Bio of the Silverback Society 2013" which follows.
Jimmie Woods receiving recognition from the Boy Scouts photographed with Scout Executive Don Ellis, SELA Council PresidentCharles L. Rice, Jr.and Event Co-Chairs Wayne M. Baquet, Jr. and the Honorable Lambert C. Boissiere, III. (and a couple of future leaders)
Bio of The Silverback Society 2013
The Silverback Society was born over coffee in the fall of 2007 when co-founders Pastor Arthur Wardsworth (deceased) of Second Good Hope Baptist Church in Algiers (New Orleans) and Photographer and media personality Lloyd Dennis decided that were tired of talking about problems and were going to do something to improve the outlook for young black men in their community. Both men had many experiences working with young people over the years, Wardsworth as a Pastor and coach and Dennis having taught photography in public school, served as a coach and worked in many youth programs over the years. They compared notes on those experiences and put on the table all the things they knew from experience worked with young people. Their common agreement was “No experimenting with the children”. Pastor Wardsworth and Lloyd Dennis put their heads together and came up with the Silverback Society pledge and Six principals (now 7) to teach boys they would soon engage.
At about the same time Beverly Johnson, now Irvin-Jelks, was the principal at Murray Henderson Elementary which stood next to the Fischer housing development. Soon after that meeting of minds this principal reached out to Wardsworth and Dennis and requested help with the boys at her school. The co-founders agreed to come once a week and teach the boys in the seventh and eighth grades. After a couple of sessions Pastor and Lloyd recognized that mixing the two grades had been a mistake since social “pecking” orders were confused whenever the two grades were in the same space. That was when the decision was made to only work with the top grade on the campus and let the younger boys look forward to their turn at what was morphing into a rights of passage experience.
The basic curriculum and culture were formed that first year because Dennis, as a classroom teacher for several years knew the importance of being prepared with a lesson plan before you walked into a classroom. So with input and advice from Pastor Wardsworth he created six weeks worth of lesson plans for what they both agreed that boys needed to know and understand about a man's opportunities for success and happiness.
After almost two years of campus culture improvement attributed to their work with the upper grade boys and the resulting trickle down effect on the attitudes and behavior of the younger boys at Murray Henderson, Pastor grew ill and passed away in December of 2009. Lloyd Dennis was shattered and wondered how he would be able to continue the work without his partner, since having two of them meant that they had never disappointed kids because as things would come, up at least one of them showed up, and this consistency and shared responsibility had become a central feature of the Silverback Society's early success.
As the Almighty would have it, after Pastor's funeral service, in the parking lot of the church, D'Juan Hernandez and Dr. Dwayne Steel offered themselves to help continue the work of the Silverback Society. Then other men came, Al Miller, MtuMishi St. Julien, Chris Williams, Jonas Nash and Keith Pittman. Then we were requested to help out at Craig, then Blayne Bondy, DR. Jerome Medley, MarcellMcGee, Corey Smith and Cornell Manuel came. And we here happy with ourselves and our effort as men in the community who were making a difference... but then the visionary and investors came.
Jimmy Woods of Metro Disposal had always supported our work. Whenever we needed something for the boys he wrote the check. He had Lloyd Dennis at breakfast and after talking about the work declared that the Silverback Society needed to be in every school. Lloyd Dennis who had a photography business balked and challenged Woods, “So are you saying that if I jump in with both feet, you are the brother that is going to make sure my wife still gets her vacations every year.” Without batting an eye Jimmie Woods committed. Later another admirer of the Silverback Society's work, Robert Reily, hearing that Dennis was considering making the Society his life's work, committed to do as much as Jimmie Woods. Silverback Society, Inc. was born and Roy J. Rodney, Jr, Sean Bruno, Bill Rouselle, Bob Reily, Jimmy Woods, D'Juan Hernandez, Dwayne Steele, Mtumishi St. Julien, Keith Pittman and Dr. Keith Ferdinand came to the board. And we doubled to four schools and Stephen St. Martin, Vance Vaucresson, Charles Easterling, Terry Hardy, Donald Robinson, Tim Thompson, Darren Lombard, James Moffett Jr., Richard Cook, Royce Duplessis, John Gaines and David Durand committed to the work.
And then people and institutions like Louella Givens-Harding, Charles Kennedy, Liberty Bank, NOLA for Life, Entergy New Orleans, Ronnie Burns, board members and others wrote checks and one day W.K. Kellogg foundation called Lloyd Dennis at home to invite him to come get support which amounted to 100,000 for three years to help the Silverback Society grow from four schools to a city wide presence. In year 2013-14 the Silverback Society will be in seven schools and in October at the annual and only mentor meeting the names of another twelve to twenty men will be added to the coordinated community effort we call the Silverback Society, now with Silverback Society, Inc to make sure the men have an infrastructure to support what they do.
New Silverback Society Partner, Lafayette Academy Seeking Career Day Speakers