CHICAGO (WLS) --There is a new effort to help curb the violence in Chicago. This fall, the city announced an aggressive plan to invest millions of dollars to expand mentoring programs that serve at risk youth.
One Chicagoan was fed up with all the crime and images he was seeing on TV and decided to make it his job to do something about it. Richard Brown is on a mission to change his community.
"Social change really is in the hands of young people," Brown said.
Brown is creating that change one young man at a time through his organization, Hope for a Better Tomorrow. For the past five years, he's organized an event called Manhood 101. It's a day when young men, especially young men of color, are matched with mentors.
Kendall Love has attended Manhood 101 for several years and is returning this year as a mentor. Like Kendall, all of these young men will learn more about college and careers, how to cook, resolving conflicts and even how to tie a tie.
"There's black doctors, black lawyers, black judges, black police officers we want to expose young men to the positive male mentors that live and work all around them," Brown said.
"Manhood 101 is a powerful environment where our students get to come out in the space that they are in and by the end of the program they leave with confidence, knowing that other men care about their well-being and they've gotten something that they haven't gotten in the past," said Keyon Kemp, Maroons male mentoring director.
And for Brown, that something is hope and a positive outlook for tomorrow.
"Young men are confronted day to day with so many challenges, act this way, don't smile, be tough, we don't do that, we do this," Brown said. "Our hope at Manhood 101 through Hope for a Better Tomorrow and our partner organizations is to provide a safe space where young men can be young men. When people hear what we do they say, 'Good work, somebody has to do it,' not knowing that we are that somebody. All of us, if we all work collectively, we can change our community."
More than 150 young people are expected to take part in this weekend's Manhood 101 mentoring sessions.
The one-day conference is free and will introduce young men ages 8 to 18 to productive and positive male role models. You can RSVP here.
Manhood 101 is taking place Saturday at 10 a.m. at the University of Chicago Donoghue Charter School.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson will serve as the keynote speaker.
Thanks to www.GoodLifeMediaProductions.com for helping provide additional video for the story.