Sometimes it seems as though there are no stories of a good nature in the news about young black men.
From repeated deadly encounters with law enforcement officials to the seemingly unjust rising imprisonment rates, black men are often perceived habitually problematic.
Thankfully, there are some like Detroit businessman and former Marine Sid E. Taylor who see things differently and are actively working towards addressing a lot of the issues facing young men of color today. Taylor heads up a mentoring program called Real Life 101 that provides college scholarships for select inner-city at-risk, African-American males who are graduating from high school.
Real Life 101 recently partnered with Normandy High School in St. Louis, Missouri, which is the former high school of slain teen Michael Brown, to implement its program and help fight against black stereotypes by investing in education. Taylor has also made a commitment in 2016 to provide scholarships to Trayvon Martin’s high school in Sanford, Florida, Eric Garner’s high school in New York and Tony Robinson’s high school in Wisconsin.
“There is no cavalry coming to save the day in our black communities in America. We have the answers we are looking for and it starts right here with each and every one of us,” Taylor said. “We have to start recognizing our young black men as true assets and not problems to be solved. We are honored to extend Real Life 101 mentoring and scholarship program to the students of Normandy High School.”
Now in its 16th year, Real Life 101 has invested $1.2 million in more than 500 scholarships and 2,000 computers to help young men get through college. The program now serves 32 schools in 12 states across the country with more than 250 dedicated professionals who serve as mentors to its program participants.
“The ultimate goal for Real Life 101 is to see the troubling statistics for young African-American male’s change, along with the goal of seeing these young men obtain their degree or develop a certification in a designated skill,” Taylor said. “We also have plans to expand to every state in America by 2017 in order to have a measurable impact on this pervasive problem with black males in America.”
For more information on Taylor and his Real Life 101 program, please visit www.reallife101.org.