Through the MTSP responsible men—not the mean streets—educate and affirm Black male youth. One weekend in April, 13 MTSP boys who demonstrate academic achievement (3.2 or above GPA), strong character, and leadership skills, traveled to State College, Pa., to visit the Penn State University campus. This was not a social field trip but one that introduced boys ages 12 to 15 to African-American men from four different cities who are excelling and come from similar backgrounds. The experience exposed the youth to a different environment and members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., who provided a grand tour including the Paul Robeson Cultural Center. They participated in workshops and an up-front conversation about the importance of education, leadership and personal development. Penn State juniors and seniors studying electrical engineering, business, information technology and animal science engaged the MTSP boys in discussions regarding academics and character development. Each youth had to write a one-page report about what they gained from the trip. One youth commented that he did not expect to see the many different cultures. Another said he learned about responsibility on the college level, and yet another youth commented that the trip confirmed that he has much more to do.
The boys were inspired by those they encountered on the trip. They witnessed how hard work, diligence and application can lead to success. They were also inspired by the life of Paul Robeson and Penn State alum astronaut Guion Bluford. This was a confidence builder and a chance for the boys to dream higher.
One 1967 Penn State School of Engineering alumni said he was impressed with the boys’ poise and communication skills. MTSP boys are not allowed to make excuses even if they are facing difficult barriers. Each MTSP journey and session is designed to build a supportive environment and foster positive outcomes.
Unfortunately, some of the brightest Black boys are dropping out to pursue a career in rhyme or crime. Many don’t have much hope for a future, but when given the right tools and guidance, who says single parent boys—or any boys—can’t excel?
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