Recreating Our Village

We have all heard the saying that it takes a village to raise a child. Here in Cleveland the young professionals have taken this mantra to heart. Therefore, demonstrating this by creating programs that relevantly impact our city’s youth. The contribution of the current professionals into the future generations is revamping the village that is raising our children and deserves acknowledgement.

The Cleveland Public Library recently hosted an event called Man Up, Cleveland to equip and empower young men to become our future leaders. Attendees were from schools all over the city including Shaw High School, Ginn Academy, Martin Luther King, Mary M Bethune, Franklin D Roosevelt Academy and Paul Revere, thanks to Mr. Banks of the Reading RAMM organization. These young men were able to learn financial responsibility; how to plan for goals; the importance of positively communicating; how to deal with stress and the importance of making good choices.

The guest speaker for the afternoon was Maurice Clarett formerly of the Ohio State Buckeyes Football Team. After viewing the documentary The Youngstown Boys, Erica Marks, the creator of Man Up, Cleveland was moved by his life story. Clarett coming from a similar background; becoming a success; making mistakes and then returning to school was the perfect candidate to impact these young men.      

Stephanie Wahome started the annual Girls Health Summit in 2011 inspired by her mentees: Chanda Bynum, Martinique Mims, Angeleece Williams and Earlaina Kemp. The purpose is to connect young women with local resources that promote mental, emotional, physical and academic health. This year they held a panel of professional women who exhibited different areas of success Mikhaela Lashawn, a performer; Stephanie Howse, a politician; and Dr. Tyffani Monford-Dent, a medical professional. The attendees were able to ask the panelist questions about their journey to success. They emphasized the importance of perseverance, individuality and mentorship.

“You are our future, if we don’t sow into you we won’t have one,” Mikhaela Lashwan. The panelists were able to see themselves in the young women they were speaking to. The value of the young ladies was promoted and accentuated allowing their own potential to be revealed.

The success of such programs rests on the backs of countless volunteers and community organizations. It is because of their investments that our young people are able to be reached.  Our community wants to say Thank You to: My COM, The Neighborhood Leadership Initiative, and Cuyahoga Board of Health, The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, The Free Medical Clinic, MANSA Consulting, and Cleveland Shambhala Meditation Center, Making a Difference Consulting, RAMM Academy and the Cuyahoga Fatherhood Initiative.

Monique Christian-Long

I am the Library Assistant Youth Emphasis at the Cleveland Public Libraray , Collinwood Branch. Working in the arts has been a part of my lifelong journey through writing, singing and playing music. I want to contribute some of those talents to this community and inspire youth to do the same.

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Volume 7, Issue 1, Posted 2:47 PM, 01.26.2015