The Elders
Supported by the Collective Black People  Movement (CBPM)
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For Mama
By Theophilus A.
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Theophilus A Baptiste
The Elders
Stone Mountain, Georgia
CBPM's 681st Member


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In 2006, The ELDERS, Inc. developed a recruitment
strategy to engage black men as volunteers to service
inner-city youth.  That strategy became known as the
“Success Models Program.”

The Success Models Program formed as a speaker’s bureau to
provide guest speakers in elementary and middle schools.  
Men considered successes in their respective fields of
endeavor were contacted and asked if they could spare time
to talk to children about themselves and what it took to
become successful.  Since the request was reasonable and
the time commitment was relatively short, the responses
were positive.  Attorneys, ministers, scientist, business men,
educators and students readily answered the call.

Success Models is now our formalized approach to group
mentoring.  Traditionally, the mentors who served youth in
group settings were female.  There has been a glaring
shortage of positive, black men joining the ranks of

Why group mentoring?  The existing number of young people
who could benefit from a mentor far exceeds the number of
men accepting the challenge.  

Additionally, research suggests that one of the most
important benefits of group mentoring is improvements in
youth’s social skills. (e.g.) Van Patten and Burke, 1997).  
Individuals in society function as members of teams at
home, in the classroom and in the work place.  A youth’s
ability to manage these interactions successfully is an
important indicator of his or her future success.  Social skills
are also related to school performance (Wentzel, 1991) and
are critical in determining whether people get and maintain
employment (Hotzer, 1996).  By providing youth with adult
guidance, in the context of peer interactions, group
mentoring may give youth an opportunity to develop skills
that promote success.

For the past two years (2008-2010) the ELDERS have
operated in the Kelly Lake Elementary school in Decatur, Ga.  
This experience has been successfully received by the
children, staff and parents of Kelly Lake.  We plan to
continue and, hopefully, expand our efforts.  To that end we
are looking for more volunteers.  To learn more about the
Success Models Program please contact us.
Students are taught the
importance of collective work
Students , parents, teachers and
volunteers work on garden
Reading One-to-One
If we could somehow separate and prioritize the
innumerable gifts that we receive from our Creator,
surely the ability to read and write has to be ranked near
the top.  It is those singular abilities that separate us
from all other earthly species and make mankind the
highest form of life on this planet.  They are the key to
all acquired knowledge. With that said, imagine not
having this wonderful and special gift. I will not go into
differences between literate verses an illiterate person’s
future wage earning potential.  They are noted and oft
repeated. If you can’t read and write your future looks
financially bleak.  
More important to me than the
lost of future wages, is the lack of
acquiring the ability to simply
learn.  A noted African-American
businessman and family head, the
late George Benjamin Blaize,
taught his children that they
must “Adore words, cherish
knowledge, practice forgiveness,
and look to those who come
behind you.”  The lack of
appreciation of the singular
importance of literacy is what is
dooming too many of our children
to bleak futures and an empty
Freddie Williams reads with
student at Kelly Lake E.S.
The reading deficiencies of our
elementary school children are
documented and truly
unacceptable.  There is a crying
need for black men to join in the
effort to increase reading
appreciation and ability among
our children.
Theophilus Baptiste reads with student
at Kelly Lake E.S.
The need for volunteers in our
schools has never been more
urgent.  Threats of cutting
teaching positions, while
increasing classroom sizes,
places undue strain on a system
already overburdened.
One of the needed responses to this dilemma is for volunteers to come
into the schools.  While not a solution to our current educational crisis, it is
a sorely missing ingredient.  

We urge that you give some time to a child.  We will all be rewarded for it.
4464 Ruby Road
Stone Mountain,
Georgia 30083
(443) 744-4724