Institutions to double black students for mentoring
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To position black students for lifelong success, they have to be better schooled in financial matters, black leaders said Friday in announcing enhancements to a Hill District mentoring initiative.
Community College of Allegheny County and 100 Black Men of Western Pennsylvania are teaming up to put more punch in the latter's mentoring program for middle and high school students. The Heinz Endowments is providing financial support.
The program traditionally has served about 35 students each school year, offering group mentoring sessions on education, culture, wellness and financial literacy. Now, enrollment will be doubled, and the participants will receive more information about financial literacy, investments and entrepreneurship.
CCAC will make its facilities, faculty and staff available for the program. It will also encourage students to take advantage of enrollment opportunities at CCAC while in high school, said David Young, associate dean for academic affairs.
"This is just an opportunity for us at CCAC to do our job to make sure education is the No. 1 opportunity for these students," Mr. Young said.
The announcement came hours before Al Dotson, chairman of 100 Black Men of America Inc., was to participate in a live radio town hall at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, Downtown. Produced by American Urban Radio Networks and hosted by Homewood native Bev Smith, the town hall, broadcast locally on WGBN 1150 AM, was to focus on the challenges facing black men.
It was the third in a series of radio town halls at the center. The controversial March session brought Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader, to town.
During an afternoon news conference Friday, speakers cited a connection between the mentoring initiative and the town hall's discussion of helping young black men to succeed.
Esther Bush, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, praised the mentoring partnership, saying organizations of all kinds must "put everything they have on the table."
If the middle class is shrinking because of the national economic troubles, the situation is especially perilous for black people, Ron Lawrence, president of the local chapter of 100 Black Men, said.
"It's one thing to educate them," he said of black students. "We also want to make sure they can use their education to take care of their families and themselves."
First Published June 18, 2011 12:00 am