2014-2015 Silverback Season Proves the Model
The 2014-15 Silverback Season marks two really significant milestones in our development as systmetic a way to provide manhood training and mentoring and motivation to a generation of boys in New Orleans.
First, we believe that we have achieved what we consider to be critical mass. With eighty men serving twelve schools and helping four hundred boys in eighth grade better appreciate the opportunity in intentional goal oriented behavior and academic achievement, next year virtually half the boys entering New Orleans Public High Schools will have Silverback Society training from the year before, will identify with the Silverback Society and readily accept one another as school mates. We want to forewarn public education officials that high school enrollment is going to exceed your forecasts. In our second class from Murray Henderson, Seven of eight boys who went to L.B Landry completed. More on that later.
We also expect that violence will continue to decline as we and others who labor in this vineyard are sending boys into communities and families who are more likely to engage in critical thinking about situations that can ruin or end their lives and those of their friends and family members. We predicted this trend several years ago in this same newsletter. Dr. Charles Corprew, during his evaluation of our works told me that our boys consider themselves leaders and are bringing their better understanding to the people they care about.
Second, This year proves without a doubt that the work of the Silverback Society doesn't need any one person or personality to continue.
It is settling into my mind that it has taken us several years to get back to the original dynamic, that of a group of guys singularly focused on a group of kids. When I was leading at more than one site over the last four years, that dynamic was different. What we are doing now is how Pastor and I began, a situation wherein once a week both men and boys look forward with energy, enthusiasm, and an intimacy that grows every week as men and boys get to know one another by name and personality.
No matter how hard I tried I could not lead more than one site with that same dynamic. You cannot fool children. So, now we are back to what really works, like Pastor Wardsworth and I started a boys feeling the embrace and feeling special to a special group of men. That is the Silverback Way.
This year I intentionally asked a few "one year" men to lead and coordinate a few schools. Since Pastor's passing and the subsequent involvement of other men, I have understood that exposure to our curriculum and methodology for a year would give men the confidence necessary to implement it. Well it turns out that I was right. The reports I've received about that leadership has us confident about our plans to grow beyond the boundaries of New Orleans
|Silverback Sisterhood Needs Women As Volunteers
The African Proverb goes: "The ruin of a nation begins in the homes of its people", so we began our journey with the Silverback Society to return values to boys that grow up in a distorted culture that resulted from the overlap of Jim Crow and welfare policies that did not allow men in the home, a culture in which men generations later did not support children and in which women accept men who cannot support children to father their children.
Since 2007 we have been exposing boys to men who are proud of themselves, who get their "swag" from being able to provide for their children and families, and teaching them how such men did it and providing real live examples of productive responsible men who have often had to overcome having fathers who weren't. Many of our boys accept the reality that if they want their children to have better lives that have to do something different from the men who impregnated their mothers.
And so the decision of girls to choose / chance having babies with men who can't / won't support them is also a factor in the cyclical poverty that ruins our community and that is related to their not having productive responsible men setting a standard in their lives. This is why we believe that we need a Silverback Sisterhood.
Another issue that became apparent when these powerful men show up for the boys was a sense that it made the girls feel like they weren't as valuable to us as the boys, and left our partner schools in the position of having to "do something" with the girls while we did our manhood training for the boys. That has to change. Proud critical thinking women are necessary if we want home to produce greatness rather than ruin.
So we have been encourage to begin a couple of pilot programs that will be moderated by women, but with men from the Silverback Society teaching appropriate lessons. The beauty of this is that we already have multiple men at each school, who can take turn sharing aspect about men and providing sorely needed fatherly advice about dealing with the opposite sex, and at the same time women volunteers can address our boys on what type of men they value, and what they expect from men.
So we are in need of women volunteers who are interested in sharing personal success and family values with girls in eighth grade who will, hopefully in families, raise, lead and educate the next generation. Like our men who volunteer as mentors, the commitment is about 20 weekly one hour sessions from right after Thanksgiving through the end of April. Like the men, you would work with a team so that if something comes up two or three time a year the sessions will be covered.
|Grants from Jason Williams/ Harrahs, Entergy New Orleans and Wisner Fund|
We want to express our appreciation for the support and confidence in our work that was expressed in the support we have received last month.
Entergy New Orleans once again has funded us for $5,000.00. Entergy marketing has also partnered with us by sponsoring our books bags which have featured their logo for the last two years.
Councilman Jason Williams recommended us for a $2000.00 Grant from Harrahs. Thanks to both.
The City of New Orleans through the Wisner Fund has provided us with $10,000.00
These contributions to our operations not only provide much needed support but also demonstrate to other funders that we are valued by and have support in the community that we serve.
|Silverback Lawrence Clovis - 3.5 GPA 1st Semester|
Lawrence Clovis at Honore Center's orientation earlier This year with Ron Mason, President of Southern University
We are so proud of our first Silverback to enter the Honore Center for Undergraduate Achievement at SUNO and his 3.5 GPA in the first semester of his freshman year.
In addition to his academic achievement Warren Bell, the program's Director made note of the teamwork and cooperative spirit exhibited by this year's incoming class, something we believe our Silverback may have helped develop among his classmates.
Lawrence is the only collegiate Silverback to get in touch with us. We hope to also hear of the success of our other Silverbacks who are pursuing post secondary development. We are working on a program to better track our guys process.