Founded in 1993, 100 Black Men of Metropolitan Baton Rouge, Ltd., has worked with thousands of young men in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana community. As one of over 100 chapters of the national 100 Black Men organization, their mission is to serve as a catalyst to empower black males to individually and collectively reach their full potential. Mentoring programs focus on four pillars: leadership, education, financial literacy, and health and wellness.
“Young people will always idolize the images and the narratives that they see and hear the most. 100 Black Men of Metropolitan Baton Rouge, Ltd. offers a very strong counternarrative for them to be able to see very polished and professional black men who come back to spend time with them. The members of the organization come from a diversity of backgrounds. The tie that binds them all together is a desire to serve the most underserved population in our community.” said Trey Godfrey, Executive Director. The organization works with between 1,200 and 1,500 school-aged youth every year through all of their great programs.
With support from the Louisiana Department of Health, 100 Black Men of Metropolitan Baton Rouge, Ltd., became a Wise Guys Program Certified Partner in 2016. Wise Guys has helped enrich their health and wellness programming for young men, a key pillar in the organization’s mentoring goals. Over the last 4 years, over 500 young men have participated in Wise Guys thanks to the leadership and commitment of the 100 Black Men staff and volunteers.
Due to the comprehensive approach of Wise Guys, the program can not be implemented locally in schools. Louisiana state law requires that sexual health education be limited to abstinence-only in focus. As a result, 100 Black Men staff and volunteers have to be very creative in recruiting young men and retaining them for the duration of the program outside of school hours. Michael “AV” Mitchell said, “[Young men} don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Being authentic and compassionate in your work with young men can greatly help in recruiting and building trusting relationships.