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- Kit serves as train-the-trainer tool for men serving at-risk boys -
(BLACK PR WIRE) – WEST PARK, Fla. – Only 41 percent of black boys graduate from high school in the United States and more than half of all black men without a high-school diploma go to prison at some time in their lives.* Elder Mathes Guice, director of the Men’s Ministry at South Florida’s Koinonia Worship Center and president of the Practitioners Technical Institute (PTI), considers these facts evidence of a ‘war on our boys.’ “We are seeing more young black men leave the classroom, resulting in delinquency, unemployment and imprisonment. We’re not fighting for our boys, and therefore, we’re losing them.” Most ministries targeting at-risk boys develop programming to keep kids engaged and off the streets. Koinonia’s Men’s Ministry has taken it a step further by developing programs targeted toward the mentors as well. In their Youth Coach Training kit, PTI teaches men that through self-actualization and purpose fulfillment, they positively impact young lives around them. As Elder Guice readies a national rollout for the program, he hopes the tools will spark a recommitment to self-improvement, and setting an example for younger generations.
“These young men are living in world vastly different from the one we grew up in,” said Guice. “To understand the issues and how to address them, you have to realign the thinking of mentors. Our program uses proven methods to build an army of men ready to take back our wayward boys.”
The training program consists of a reference booklet, “Who Am I and Why Am I Here?” and a seminar presentation. Topics include skill-building, effective parenting techniques, developing positive peer associations and cultivating activities that support responsible social growth. Koinonia’s Men’s Ministry has utilized the kit to train mentors in their Rites of Passage program. Across 10 years, dozens of at-risk boys have improved reading levels, school attendance and become functional members of society through the program. During the 2010-2011 school year alone, 94 percent of participants showed improvement in productive behaviors, including school attendance, grades and participation in pro-social activities. (Source: Dr. Susan E. Day, research faculty, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Florida Atlantic University)
“Evidence-based practices – that is the key,” continued Guice. “This Youth Coach Training kit has made a remarkable difference in the lives of at-risk boys because we impart verified tactics for effectively supporting each boy and his family.”
The process for becoming a youth coach is straightforward: identify, discover, or rediscover your gifts, skills, and/or talents; and move from preaching and teaching to doing. The focus is on taking biblical principles and applying them to everyday life. By developing a higher spiritual awareness, patience, commitment, a connection through similar backgrounds and communication skills, the kit helps men release selfish desires and embrace a shared responsibility to nurture their mentees. The Men’s Ministry used the kit as a backbone to launch a community-wide movement addressing delinquency.
“None of our boys have served time in the juvenile or criminal justice systems because we are more than just their after-school program,” said Guice. “We worked to get our pastor elected as mayor of the city of West Park, the only such pastor/mayor in the state, and have supported campaigns for dedicated school board members, judges, city commissioners and state representatives. Any community can be transformed, but it takes a holistic, 360-degree commitment to improving the lives within it.”
The Youth Coach Training kit’s book, entitled “Who Am I and Why Am I Here? How to Develop Your Gifts, Talents and Purpose for God’s Divine World,” was authored by Steve White, and is accompanied by a PowerPoint seminar presentation, “Becoming a Practitioner.” The package will be available for purchase across the U.S. later this year. To learn more about the training kit, the process for recruiting and developing youth mentors, or to reserve your copy, please call (954) 239-4297.
*Schott Foundation for Public Education; The New Yorker, 2012