100 Black Men of Greater Orlando’s Project Success is a high school and post-secondary preparation and scholarship program. Dedicated to mentoring at-risk youth, this program guides them toward academic success to position them to become successful contributors to the community. Members of 100 Black Men of Greater Orlando, Inc. mentor and tutor 20 Jones High School students per year. Jones High School is the second oldest historically Black high school in the nation. Students are provided a college counselor who addresses three of these factors – academics, social adjustment and family. This counselor builds a relationship with our students and their families from 9th grade through college graduation.
Components of Project Success
High School – The high school components of Project Success are: academics; financial literacy, including, investments in stocks and bonds; etiquette training; college orientation tours; field trips to businesses and, current events. Formal mentoring sessions are held twice monthly. However, mentors are available to students on an on-going basis.
College – There are four factors in order of impact that prevent at-risk youth from graduating from college: Finances, Academics, Social Adjustment, and Family. Students are provided a college counselor who addresses three (3) of these factors – academics, social adjustments and family. This counselor builds a relationship with our students and their families from 9th grade through college graduation.
Factors that typically prevent at-risk youth from graduating
- Finances – More than 1.9 million dollars in scholarships have been awarded over the past 20 years. Each Project Success student receives $5,000 per year in college scholarships. Students are also awarded scholarships for post graduate degrees.
- Academics – A college counselor monitors each student’s academic progress on a per semester basis. The counselor intervenes as required to keep each student on track academically to graduate.
- Social Adjustment – Many of the students do not have family members with college experience. Thus, the college counselor speaks with them often and visits with students during their college career to ensure that they are adjusting. Our counselor works to ensure that any problems and/or issues are resolved.
- Family – Most often students are from single parent homes. Some students have had some very challenging situations with their families and their personal situations because of a lack of financial support and resources. Some examples are highlighted below.
The need for college preparedness/tutoring
Colleges and universities have become quite competitive, which has led to increasing SAT/ACT test score requirements. For example, Florida’s universities and colleges are now requiring SAT scores in the 1150 to 1250 range for high school graduates. We believe that SAT prep classes are necessary to win in this competitive era. This is why Project Success has solicited the aid of the Academic Doctor to prepare our students for success. As a result, the students who participated in the program received high SAT/ACT scores.
Financial Literacy and Budgeting
African Americans in general are not as financially literate as they could be. 100 Black Men of Greater Orlando, Inc. has an arsenal of highly trained and willing entrepreneurs who are concentrating on youth entrepreneurship through Project Success. Financial literature will be added to the Stock investment portfolio. The goal is to teach and train the students in business principles and on why starting new businesses can lead to communities becoming stakeholders while building up their communities enables them to give back to its community.
Sessions are held twice monthly and include topics that are facilitated by several prominent African American males who are recognized in our community as transformational leaders. Each workshop is centers on the expertise of the speaker at the time of the session and is always goal-setting and career oriented.
Each student is appointed two mentors beginning in 9th grade until graduation. Each mentor is trained and registered at ADDITIONS, which is subject to the Florida Sunshine law. Mentors are never in the home of students and typically work with them over the phone or at school. The mentors also work with the family members as 100 Black Men of Greater Orlando believes that success starts with family and ends with family.