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Mentoring Youth to Prevent Crime

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November 28, 2007

Albany - - Community leaders say we can prevent crime and violence by reaching out to young people before they get on the wrong path. A group of professional men are giving their time to help kids and Take Back our Neighborhoods. 

Dvonte Bowie is just like any fourteen year old. He loves shooting hoops, and when he's not doing that...

"Mostly at the house playing video games, watching TV, stuff like that."

'Stuff' that will keep him out of trouble. 

Wednesday, Bowie decided to take part in a new mentoring group at Merry Acres Middle School to expose students like him to professional men in the community.

"What they can get from us so they can become better citizens," says Jesse Harris with 100 Black Men.

The volunteers vow to do this once a week.

Lately there have been calls from community leaders for more programs like this. Members of 100 Black Men feel they can reach these young boys before its too late.

"What we found in the area of middle schools, we found the kids needed more help because by the time they get to high school, its usually too late," Harris says.

They have some real talk, about real issues.

"Sex choices, smoking, drinking, gangs, all of that," says 13 year old Ernest Miller.

"Those are the kinds of things we actually want to talk about. We try to bring to their attention...what are the things are their minds, what things involve them and what can we do about it," Harris adds.

So they can see their full potential.

Bowie says he'll be back.

"It was pretty fun for being my first time," he said.

And he can take what he learned the next time he heads to the basketball court. 

This is the first time the 100 Black Men group has mentored at Merry Acres. For the past two years, they worked with teenagers at Albany Middle.

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