They say that children are the future of the world. With all of the outside factors of life coming at them, sometimes children need the help of a role model to guide them through the calamity of it all. However, not all children have that advantage.
That’s where Mt. Olive Primitive Baptist’s “I’m My Brother’s Keeper” (IMBK) comes in.
With the motto “No Excuses,” the members of IMBK take any child in need of a mentor under their wing and give them motivation to be the best they can be. Their mission is to motivate, empower and encourage boys and young men through mentoring and various other resources. IMBK aims to challenge boys and young men “to be positive decision makers and provide assistance in the process that will shape them into successful and responsible young adults.”
The main goals of IMBK are:
To assist boys and young men in receiving support and guidance from a mentor
To improve their academic performances
To reduce the dropout rate
To reduce incarceration and increase graduation
The program was started 18 months ago after members of Mt. Olive Primitive Baptist threw around ideas to help the young men of the Madison County community. Donnell Davis, one of the men who takes part in this powerful program and his fellow members, Clifford Rivers, Cedrick Brown and Elder Baker, looked around and saw the rising crime rate and problems in the community and wanted to start a mentoring program; when Davis and his team were younger, they had many elders to look up to, but they noticed that not many children in this day and age have that type of support.
Thus, IMBK was born. Davis and his team are all mentors who work tirelessly to make a difference in a child’s life.
IMBK holds monthly meetings every second Monday of the month at the church at 6:30 p.m. There are different guest speakers at each meeting that give speeches about some of the trials they have been through in life and how they overcame them in hopes to inspire each of the boys who attend the meeting.
Davis states that this program is not just for those in the Madison community, but for any young man looking for someone to talk to about issues in their household, school or other areas of their lives. “No one is turned away,” said Davis. “We’re just trying to save a generation of kids who have flaws.”
At the meetings, the young men and boys are given lists of things to achieve to get closer to their goals. Every month, they talk about their progress in reaching their goals. These progress reports are put in the file of each child so they can look back later on in life and see how they achieved their goals. The mentors also ask questions about how the children’s lives are going, being sure to address issues that come up and provide support. Sometimes, if a child is having issues with behavior or grades at school, a mentor will come to the school unannounced and assess the situation.
Seeing the children grasp ideas and really react to some of the ideas provided at the meetings drives Davis and the other mentors to continue to make a difference in the community- one child at a time.
If anyone is interested in learning more about IMBK, contact Donnell Davis at (850) 673-9533. Mt. Olive Primitive Baptist is located at 187 SW Bentley St. in Madison.