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Teens Go to Tallahassee
Recently 13 teens in the Men in the Making program took a four-day trip to Tallahassee for a tour that included visits to Florida A& M University, Florida State University, State Capital Building and other historic sites. The young men were also introduced to culinary options, budgeting, and nature during the bus ride through historic “Old Florida” along Highway 27.
Men in the Making is a progressive initiative for students ages 8 to 18 promoting success in school and life. The primary purpose of MIM is to provide lifelong learning and enrichment for minority teens throughout Pinellas County with emphasis on critical thinking, public speaking, problem-solving, and community service.
Men in the Making was established with the support of volunteer law enforcement officers, clergy, coaches, businessmen, and students who serve as strong peer models. The St. Petersburg Police department offers strong leadership and support to this program. More than half of the group’s 20 active role models are from local law enforcement.
An amazing day Saturday at the Men In The Making 2017 Rite Of Passage. Congratulations to all of the mentees and our graduating seniors. Young Men In The Making have a wonderful summer and continue making the “Right Choices”. Thank you to all of our mentors and sponsors. Stay tuned for our short film highlight which embodies the soul and goal of our program.
Our Keynote Speaker – Kevin Merida
Kevin Merida joined ESPN in November 2015 as senior vice president and editor-in-chief of “The Undefeated,” ESPN’s media platform that explores the intersections of race, sports, and culture. He is responsible for the site’s editorial direction, tone and policies, and provides oversight and strategy leadership for key initiatives of “The Undefeated.”
Prior to ESPN, Merida served as The Washington Post’s managing editor for news, features and The Post’s Universal News Desk since 2013. In that role, he helped lead The Post’s digital transformation that has resulted in one of the largest increases in audience growth of any media outlet in the country over the last two years. Merida is the first African American to hold a managing editor position at The Post. During his tenure, The Post won three Pulitzer Prizes.
The Washington Post hired Merida in 1993 as a Congressional correspondent and national political writer. His responsibilities then grew and became more varied: feature writer, magazine columnist, associate editor, and national editor.
Merida has co-authored two books: “Supreme Discomfort: The Divided Soul of Clarence Thomas” with Michael Fletcher; and “Obama: The Historic Campaign in Photographs” with Deborah Willis.
In 2006, Merida served as coordinating editor for the award-winning series “Being a Black Man,” which explored the lives of black men in America through in-depth reporting of their unique but shared experiences. The yearlong series by The Post was anthologized in a 2007 book Merida edited – “Being a Black Man: At the Corner of Progress and Peril.”
Merida graduated from Boston University with a journalism degree in 1979. He attended the University of California at Berkeley before starting his career at The Milwaukee Journal. From 1983-1993, he worked for The Dallas Morning News.
Born in Wichita, Kansas, Merida was raised in the Washington, D.C. metro area. His 10th grade class in 1973 was the first to go through busing in Maryland’s Prince George’s County school district – an experience he captured 25 years later in a personal essay, “Where That Bus Ride Took Me.”
Merida, who resides in Washington, D.C. area, is married to author Donna Britt.• https://theundefeated.com/
History helps us understand change and how our society came to be. The past causes the present, and therefore it also colors the future. Only through history can we begin to comprehend the factors that cause change; and only through history can we understand what elements of an institution or a society persist despite change.
This Saturday MIM reflected on why History matters: “A Civil Rights Story.” We also looked forward to the future by taking a scientific sampling of our young men’s interests. Using this data to usher them in a direction of possible career and life paths.
It’s that time again. After having a delicious breakfast at the Allstate Center we gathered to be fitted for our graduation tuxedos. Mr. Ron Sacino himself arrived dressed to perfection. Like a true tailor, Mr. Sacino took each young man’s measurements and counseled them in all matters of style. Following the fitting, the group traveled to Gratzzi Italian Grille and enjoyed a delicious lunch as they conversed amongst their peers. It was a good day to be a Man In The Making.
The highlight of the February Men In The Making Session appeared when the mentors took the time to show the young men the simple act of tying a tie. This simple gesture served as a symbolic rite of passage that many sons experience with their fathers. There are several pieces of literature that point out the symbolism in every aspect of one’s tie. Passing on this tradition and skill to the younger members of the group was an important totem in the thread of trust being sewn in the program.
Congratulations Tramar!!! Thank you Gill, Matt, Luke, John, Klev, and Rob for taking the time to show this amazing young man support. We have all watched Tramar grow into an inspiring young man with a bright future ahead of him. We are all proud of you and seeing a member of MIM sign with Indiana University, fulfilling a dream of playing college football, confirms not only our but your dedication to the Men In The Making mission.
No matter where you are, we will all be here to promote your continued success.
Earlier this month several of the Men In The Making family starred on stage at the Sounds of the Civil Rights Movement at the Palladium, St Petersburg. Thank you to several of St. Petersburg’s finest for coming out and supporting this production.
The Power of Song shares the stories of the music that drove the movement and how music can be used as a tool of nonviolence. The production is the official kick-off event of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.
Diamonds Are Forever, Life Is Irreplaceable! Julie Weintraub of the Gold & Diamond Source came in and gave an interesting summation on women and choices. Our very own, Boyzell Hosey, provided a visually stimulating address on capturing moments in time, “the world we view”. Starting off 2017 strong with a full room of young men ready to learn and grow under the watchful eyes of their mentors.
On Sunday, the organization did the same off the field, along with a group of Bay News 9 employees.
Bay News 9 reporter Trevor Pettiford emceed the event and stressed to the young men the event meant just as much to him as it did to them.
“It’s an incredible honor,” Pettiford said. “To be a part of Men in the Making.
“It’s great to be involved with them, get the young men out at different events and give back to the community. It’s just a win-win.”
The boys were treated to a tailgate party at One Buc Place, played games, engaged in mentoring sessions with Bay News 9 employees and enjoyed a Q-and-A session with former Buc and current team Director of Football Operations Shelton Quarles.
“It’s really important,” Quarles said of lending his time to the men in the Making organization. “Anytime to have a chance to give back, you do. Coach Dungy taught his players that. I try to continue that to this day.”
The group then headed into Raymond James Stadium to cheer on the Bucs against the New Orleans Saints.
Born out of tragedy, the Men in the Making program now mentors approximately 50 young men from south St. Petersburg neighborhoods.
The creation of the group came about after the 2011 shooting death of St. Petersburg police officer David Crawford.
A teenager, Nicholas Lindsey, then 16, was convicted of killing Crawford and is now serving a life sentence.
A need was seen to connect teens with people in the community to keep them on a successful path. Mentors meet with boys one Saturday a month, spending time with them for about seven to eight hours.
Professionals from the community and police officials work with the teens — teaching everything from tying ties and speaking in public to developing writing and critical thinking skills.
The group has had speakers from ESPN, gone to restaurants, visited museums and had demonstrations from St. Petersburg police.
Sunday was a chance to do what only two kids in the group had ever done: attend a live National Football League game.
Kenny Irby, the program director of Men in the Making, said the boys worked hard to earn the honor of attending the game.
“Today is just affirmation of how enriching this activity can be,” Irby said. “Getting these kids to see things outside of their environment is vital.
“But they earned it – with their academics and behavior. They promised they would and it’s a promise that was kept.”