Page 13 - Florida Sentinel 2-26-21
P. 13

    All-Boys Block Party Event Was Held To Introduce Positive Programs And Sports
 Clinics To Young Black Boys And Men
  Members of the Lightning team with one of the young participants.
    BY MONIQUE STAMPS Sentinel Staff Writer
On Saturday, February 13, 2021, the “All Boys Block Party” for young African American men was held in Kings Forest Park. The event was held to introduce young Black boys and men to mentoring and commu- nity options available to them.
Several local organiza- tions came together to pro- vide a safe environment with everything from Tik- Tok contests to sports clin- ics with members of the Rays, Buccaneers, Light- ning, and Rowdies. The in- tention was to provide an opportunity to provide pos- itive, safe sports clinics where they could interact and learn from athletes and other prominent Black men while being introduced to development programs to keep the boys positively oc- cupied.
Earlisha Oates is a res- ident of East Tampa and as the mother of two boys and two girls, she has growing concerns about the amount
of violence in the area. She has been paying close atten- tion to the number of shoot- ings among residents in East Tampa, particularly among young Black men. She thought of the male mentoring groups here in Tampa and wondered if they would be interested in “pouring some love” into the young boys of East Tampa. The aim was to encourage them and show them that they are loved.
Oates first spoke to JaLem Robinson of Brothers United Building Brothers Alliance (B.U.B.B.A.), a nonprofit or- ganization that works to im- prove the lives of men and children of color through a myriad of programs includ- ing fatherhood initiatives and mentoring males ages 8 to 18. Oates shared that our boys have so much to say butnoonetosayitto. Robinson and Oates de- cided to have an event to bring together these boys and mentors.
A block party was de- cided as the venue. Three additional organizations
servicing young boys and men in Tampa joined the ef- fort. G3, who seeks to posi- tively impact youth by changing their thinking to focus on their potential. Men of Vision, whose goal is to expose young men to new ideas, opportunities, and to encourage the practice of re- sponsibility and accounta- bility for their future. The last, GentlemenQuest, is dedicated to helping pro- gram participants realize their full potential as stu- dents, make positive choices regarding their academics and behavior, and equip them with the skills neces- sary to become productive citizens after they graduate.
The Idea School was in- cluded because several young men from East Tampa will be attending the charter school in the fall. The program also allowed parents to ask questions and get more information about the school.
The goal was to get every young man to sign up for a development program. The groups worked together and recruited boys and young
Tameka Monroe, Earlisha Oates, and LaShawn Smith.
men to attend and the CDC of Tampa, who assisted kids in filling out career develop- ment paperwork. Safe and Sound Tampa provided the space for the party. Forty- two (42) boys attended and all 42 signed up for at least one program and many signed up for multiple pro- grams. Oates also empha- sized the importance of seeing as many men in pos- itive roles as possible.
“I just want to let parents know that they are not alone, and we are here to support one another,” Oates stated.
The Idea School which will open four locations in August, 2021 played a major part in the development of the program. Christopher Warren, PhD, the Regional Director of Advancement, started the event by working with the Hillsborough County Parent Teacher As- sociation (PTA). Dr. War- ren sought to tap into a state funded program to
grow an inner-city school network called “Schools of Hope.”
Dr. Warren says that they are trying to make it a quarterly event and helping give young Black boys emo- tional, mental, scholastic, and academic assistance in the face of generational poverty, racism and COVID.
Despite the rain, all the pro team mascots came out with the pro players to make it a truly fun time. School Board member Henry “Shake” Washington at- tended the event and said that, “It was a fantastic event, and everyone had a great time. To have Black men spend quality time with young Black boys and men, tutoring, mentoring, and having a good time, was a powerful thing. This is great for our young men to know that their elders care about them and want them to suc- ceed. I was proud to be there and a part of such an important event.”

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