(BLACK PR WIRE) (February 19, 2009) An old, wise African proverb states that it takes a whole village to raise a child. Mentoring, love and support are necessary to fill a young person’s reserves so that he or she can stand up to face the adversity, trials and tribulations that inevitably face all of us in our day to day lives. In this nation the problem of single parent households and fatherless children has become somewhat of an epidemic. In 2005 close to 70% of all black children and 48% of all Hispanic children were born into fatherless households. These numbers increase at least subtly with each passing year.
According to statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children growing up in fatherless homes are more likely to run away, have behavioral disorders, commit suicide, abuse drugs, drop out of school, end up in prison, commit violent crimes and become teen parents out of wedlock. These are frightening patterns that many youth advocates are fighting to prevent and impede.
The Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the first black Greek letter fraternity in the nation, understands the importance of a community of support in every youth’s life, specifically focusing on fatherless African American boys and their need for a strong, male role model. The word mentor means a wise and trusted counselor or teacher or an influential senior sponsor of supporter. Even boys with supportive fathers in their lives can benefit from the program objectives set forth by this altruistic group of young men and their mission to nurture other male youth.
Through their partnership with the March of Dimes, Alpha Phi Alpha’s Project Alpha seeks to provide mentoring to at-risk youth working within the African American community. Project Alpha is a national initiative that seeks to provide “education, motivation and skill-building on issues of responsibility,” teaching young men ages 12 to 15 about fatherhood and the role of males in healthy relationships. Their program includes education on abstinence, birth control, sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy in the hopes of inspiring wise decision making in the future.
Famous members of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity include but are not limited to Martin Luther King Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Rhodes Scholar and former Jamaican Prime Minister Norman Manley, W.E.B. Dubois, Duke Ellington and Frederick Douglass! By partnering strong, successful African American men with youth in their own communities Project Alpha is actively fighting the negative influences of fatherless children by creating a village of support to carry these youth safely through to adulthood.