100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale holds annual scholarship luncheon
100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale holds annual scholarship luncheon
2013 100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale Scholarship recipients receive their awards. Pictured(l-r) Jarvis Hannah- Florida Gulf Coast University; Jonathan Jackson-Bethune-Cookman University; Rodric Brummage-Broward College, 100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale Leadership Academy Coordinator Norvel Bethel, 100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale President Dennis Wright, Rodney Young-Broward College; Sean Blair-New York New School; Devon Blair-Hampton University(not shown); Rushayne Shaw-Broward College and David Reece, Jr.-Savannah State University.
By Charles Moseley
The 100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale, Inc. (100BMOFL) held their annual fundraising golf tournament and scholarship luncheon Saturday June 22nd, at the Palm Aire Country Club in Pompano Beach, Florida.
Hot 105’s Radio Personality Tamara “G” Gant along with Mentor Tony Robinson served as Co-MC’s for the scholarship luncheon while jazz saxophonist Jon Saxx provided the entertainment for the afternoon, performing a variety of contemporary jazz tunes. Franz Joseph was the luncheon’s keynote speaker. Joseph formerly earned a football scholarship at Boston College before transferring to Florida Atlantic University where he was a standout linebacker who earned numerous athletic awards. Joseph also had a brief stint in the National Football League (NFL) before getting cut by the Oakland Raiders.
Joseph’s mother passed away in 2012. He credited his mother for motivating him throughout his life and for instilling in him the importance of education. Today the 27-year-old is a successful businessman with hopes of getting back into the NFL.
“My wish today is for what I have to say to you today is for it to make a positive impact on someone today. Because when you grow up in the inner city, a good influence is hard to come by.”
Eight former mentees who are currently enrolled in college and three recent high school graduates received scholarships awards. All of the award recipients successfully completed 18 months of training in the 100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale Inc. Leadership Academy. The goal of the Leadership Academy is to provide mentees with the tools to further their education and assists them toward becoming productive members of society.
TBC Corporation was the title sponsor and also was the winners of the tournament.
Other sponsors included: JM Family, Avenue Executive, VITAS, NOBLE, Palm Aire Country Club, Florida Career College, Teamsters Union, McKinley Financial, and Golfsmith.
Betty Cohen is the mother of mentee Alex Speid. Cohen attended the luncheon on behalf of her son who was a scholarship award recipient. She learned about the program from a friend and admits that her son was struggling in school at the time as a 10-year-old fourth grader. She felt that her son needed a mentor in his life.
“My son had developmental issues early on which enabled him socially. I thought that would be a positive thing for him at the time and he has been a part of the program ever since. The 100 has aided him socially as far as him becoming more sociable by encouraging him. He struggled in math all through school and toward the end I think the organization really woke him up and helped him cope with his disability. He graduated from Fort Lauderdale High School. One month later he was at Claftin College in Orangeburg, South Carolina the next. He likes writing so he is leaning toward majoring in journalism”.
Members of the 100 BMOGF all share a common goal which is to help in improving the economic status of their communities as well as providing programs that enhance and enrich lives of young men through their Four for the Future initiatives. Those initiatives include; Mentoring, Education, Economic Development, and Health and Wellness. Members of the organization strive to positively influence the lives of young men by serving as positive role models.
Dennis Wright is the current president of the 100 BMOGFL. He shared why he became involved with the organization and what being a mentor has meant to him.
“My involvement with the 100 Black Men came about with me looking for a way to give back to the community which pretty much raised me which was the Northwest section of Fort Lauderdale and my desire to take the character that was instilled in me as a young man and share my experiences with those other young men who are coming up in the community.”
“I have gotten a tremendous gratification to be able to share in the life of a young person and help mold the life of a young person and to see those people mature to become positive, successful, contributing, adults. I think we as Black men in particular have to be that role mo-del, have to be visible, and have to be diligent in what we do as role models every day. It is extremely important that we are visible and that the young men see us in a positive light,” Wright added.
The 100BMOFL Programs include; Leadership Academy, What’s Your Swagger, Million Father March, 100 Annual Bike Drive, 100 Scholarship and Online Tutoring.
Rodric Brummage-18-began attending the program as a sixth grader attending Lauderdale Lakes Middle School. Today the Boyd Anderson High School graduate attends Broward College where he is majoring in Aviation Engineering
“I was having trouble in school, when my aunt came across the program. At first I thought it was going to be like school but after the first couple of weeks, I started to get into it. I continued to go over the next several years and began to learn a lot about life, your health, the economy, everything. It really helped me throughout my remaining school years and made me look at life differently.”
Norvel Bethel began mentoring at the 100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale in 2006. Today he is the Leadership Academy Coordinator. Bethel is responsible for developing the curriculum for each 12 week session of the Leadership Academy. He also keeps in contact with the parents and mentees. Another facet of his duty as coordinator involves bringing in speakers to address the mentees.
“I try to get a lot of professionals to come in to speak to the young men which is in keeping with our motto: “What they see is what they will be.” We stress the importance of education as well as telling them what they are doing now will have a major impact on where they will end up in the very near future.”
Recently several members of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department and a representative from the Broward Sheriff’s Department addressed mentees on the importance of practicing gun safety.
100BMOGF mentee Rodney Young began attending the program when he was in the fourth grade after being introduced to it by his mother. Rodney attended Zion Lutheran High School where he lettered in football, track, and basketball. Today the 19-year-old attends Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Georgia where he is pursuing a degree in Criminal Justice.
“When I first got there I thought it was going to be like school. It was in the morning and I didn’t want to wake up. I used to be very shy. I never talked to anybody there because I didn’t know anyone there. I kept to myself until my cousin started coming. I learned about business, strength and conditioning, and a lot of other things through the program.” -
Officer William Preston is a seven year veteran on the City of Fort Lauderdale Police Department who is presently assigned to Arthur Ashe Middle School as its Resource Officer. Preston has been a mentor with the 100 BMOGF for six years.
”One of the biggest issues I see within our community which affects not just our young Black men but young people in general is the lack of taking responsibility for their actions. We’ve taken a lot of time in working with our young men in letting them know that mistakes will be made consequences will occur, but you must take responsibility for your actions, you learn from your mistakes, and you grow to become a better person.”