INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The organization 100 Black Men has touched the lives of thousands of Indianapolis teenagers in its 30-year history. The organization mentors, educates and inspires minority youth to dream big and achieve their goals.
“I think I’ve learned a lot,” says Danielle Rivers, a senior at North Central High School.
Rivers is in the midst of a co-ed, 16-week financial literacy program offered through 100 Black Men.
“Every Saturday morning from 9 until 12, you go down and listen to lectures about your needs and wants versus your values, credit cards, stocks and bonds,” says Rivers. “They give you lectures to build your base of information.”
At the end of the program, participants compete in a regional competition — happening March 12th — with the goal of making it to the national competition against other 100 Black Men chapters. The Indianapolis chapter won the national competition in Financial Literacy in 2012 and 2013.
“We’re going for 3 in a row,” says Ontay Johnson, Executive Director of 100 Black Men of Indianapolis.
The Indianapolis chapter of 100 Black Men was founded in 1984 and serves more than 700 Indianapolis youth each year through mentoring-based educational programs.
The Indianapolis chapter conducts six programs for students in kindergarten through 12th grade that focus on mentoring, education and leadership development. Johnson says three programs are co-ed: financial literacy, the Summer Academy, and African American history.
“Some of our programs have a fee,” says Johnson. “Our team mentoring – which is a school-based program – is free, our African American history program is free, our financial literacy program is also free, our Beautillion Militaire program costs $250 and our Summer Academy is $150 per student.”
Johnson insists the strength of 100 Black Men is in its dedication to mentoring.
“We believe there’s power in mentoring,” says Johnson. “So, it’s power when you can take someone who’s had success in a particular area and they can provide guidance and help you see a little further than perhaps you can yourself.”
Kendale Adams, 40, was in high school at North Central High School when he participated in the Beautillion Militaire program.
“Not only did it give me kind of a clear picture of what my career would be — but also the emphasis in furthering my education,” says Adams, a police sergeant with IMPD. “I really credit the program for having the influence on me to become a police officer.”
Adams attended Ball State University and has been a mentor for Beautillion for 18 years.
“Kids need mentoring. I don’t care where they come from — I don’t care if they come from two-parent households,” says Adams. “ In this day and age, with all of the influences our kids have, they need someone that can help navigate life for them. And that’s what our program enables me to do, and I’m very proud of that.”
Future 100 Black Men of Indianapolis events:
- March 12
Regional Financial Literacy competition
University of Indianapolis
- March 15
11th Annual College and Scholarship Fair
Northwest High School, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- March 27
30 year kickoff celebration
- April 12
Beautillion Militaire Scholarship banquet
- Oct. 25
Celebration of 30 years in Indianapolis