Targeting At-Risk Youths: Tennessee Program Prevents Violence in Young African American Males

By Grant, Rita A.; Buford, Juanita | Corrections Today, August 1994 | Go to article overview

Targeting At-Risk Youths: Tennessee Program Prevents Violence in Young African American Males


Grant, Rita A., Buford, Juanita, Corrections Today


Crime and drug abuse among African American male youths often stem from poor self-esteem and false notions of manhood. Men of Distinction (MOD), a successful prevention and intervention program run by Bethlehem Centers of Nashville, is working to combat these problems by boosting self-esteem and providing positive educational and recreational training and programs for African American male youths age 9 to 17.

The program's goals are to prevent homicides among at-risk youths by helping them cope with violent environments and teaching them methods for overcoming the obstacles they face and to help them lead a positive, healthy life.

The youths are residents of some of Nashville's toughest public housing projects: John Henry Hale Homes, Preston Taylor Homes and Andrew Jackson Homes. Program officials originally went door-to-door in the projects to recruit participants. Now, youths hear about the program through fliers that are distributed in those areas or by word-of-mouth.

Bethlehem Centers of Nashville, a Methodist-affiliated nonprofit organization that runs programs for the poor, initially received funding for Men of Distinction in 1989 from the Governor's Black Health Care Task Force of Tennessee. What began as a demonstration project has grown into a national model for prevention and intervention among African American male youths. MOD's intervention strategies for preventing deviant behaviors have been so successful that the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention recommends that it be replicated elsewhere.

"We're trying to give these children direction and guidance," says MOD program coordinator Ron King. "We do this by providing mentoring and conflict resolution sessions, and by working directly with the kids and their parents. We demand discipline and high standards."

Program Components

MOD's program components include mentoring, peer counselling, professional counselling services, academic activities, rap sessions, field trips and manhood development and responsibility training.

As King points out, one of the biggest problems facing African American male youths is the lack of a strong family unit. Most MOD participants live in single-parent households headed by women. That means few have positive male role models. Without the guidance and discipline of a father, they are more susceptible to negative peer pressure, drug and alcohol use, crime and, for some, death.

Mentors

Mentors work with program participants one-on-one, acting as friends, role models and surrogate parents. They take MOD participants on outings and are there to listen, give advice and step in when a parent cannot. For example, they may meet with teachers or guidance counselors to discuss a youth's progress in school.

An advisory board assists in recruiting, screening and matching mentors and youth. Pairings are based on common interests and activities. Mentors undergo an extensive interview process and background and employment checks. Currently 25 mentors are involved with MOD.

There are no special qualifications for mentors; they must simply agree to phone the youth at least once a week and take him out at least once a month. The mentor system offers youths positive relationships and experiences that help build their self-esteem.

Reflecting on MOD mentor John Coleman's impact on her son's life, Sharon Rhodes said, "I can't believe the change in his attitude. Jason behaves better in school and shows me more respect. I am really thankful for the time Mr. Coleman spends with Jason because he's needed a male figure in his life."

"There are cases where MOD youths have witnessed parents involved in abusing drugs and alcohol, experienced or witnessed sex at an early age, or have endured physical and mental abuse," King said. "The mentor for these youths may very well be someone who grew up in the same environment and has had some involvement with correctional institutions but has decided not to live the same type of life as an adult. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Targeting At-Risk Youths: Tennessee Program Prevents Violence in Young African American Males
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.