“But the plain fact is there are some Americans who, in the aggregate, are consistently doing worse in our society—groups that have had the odds stacked against them in unique ways that require unique solutions; groups who’ve seen fewer opportunities that have spanned generations. And by almost every measure, the group that is facing some of the most severe challenges in the 21st century in this country are boys and young men of color.”
When President Barack Obama uttered those words at the launch of his new initiative, “My Brother’s Keeper,” he did so with the intent of helping ensure boys and young men of color in the United States have the opportunity to reach their full potential. That of course, includes African American young boys.
Prior to this exciting new initiative by President Obama, another powerful initiative had already been functioning and has been making tangible differences in the lives of young Black males all across the Greater Houston area. That initiative is called Project Forward.
Founded by Deric Muhammad, Project Forward is a program, with a mission to unify Black men and boys by pumping life into existing organizations and creating a platform for new and budding young leadership in the African American community across the Greater Houston area.
According to Deric Muhammad, Project Forward is focused on empowering the African American community by embracing virtues within the community such as; Each One-Teach One, Respect for Life, Supporting Black Businesses, Circulating the Black Dollar, Embracing Education and Organizing for Justice. It is the “one-on-one” mentoring of young Black boys that is a critical component to the initiative.
One of the major aspects of Project Forward is the Little League Off-Road Team. The Little League Off-Road Team, which is headed up by Bruce Jackson, has become an exciting new way to mentor young Black males and provide them with an alternative to the streets.
“I had never thought about incorporating this component into Project Forward, until Bruce brought the idea to us and had so much passion about what he was doing,” said Muhammad. “I had never seen a dirt racetrack in the back of a grown man’s home, so when I saw it for the first time, I was blown away. Taking active young boys on a race track to play with sophisticated off-road vehicles and teaching them to repair it when it breaks down is a skill they will never lose.”
Jackson, 37, is an entrepreneur and made sure that when he built his new house in the neighborhood he moved to, that it would have to have a custom-built dirt race track in the backyard, because he wanted the kids in the neighborhood to have something to do and stay out of trouble. Jackson always had a passion to reach young kids by giving them the opportunity to race cars, because it is what kept him out of trouble as he was dealing with some serious personal and family issues.
Source: Forward Times Online | JEFFREY L. BONEY