Kevin Carter, chief executive officer of Adonai, started the nonprofit organization in 2009 to bring solutions to some of the educational, social and economic challenges that Black males face by making programmatic investments in their development.
“I was at Point Park (University) when I realized the abundance of opportunities that I had and that a lot of my other friends didn’t have,” he said. “I got tired of being one of the only Black males to experience these opportunities. We want to better position these young men to be successful,” Carter said.
Through its Fellows Program, which is a four-year program that provides high school aged males the necessary skill sets to succeed, Adonai offers educational, social and economic advancement initiatives, along with mentoring sessions and recreational activities.
Asa Powell, 17, a senior at Sto-Rox High School, has participated in the Fellows Program all four years said, “the program has given me tons of opportunities such as meeting with professionals and community leaders; traveling to the One Young World Summit in Africa and the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington; and tons of exposure.” He added, that without the program “I’d probably be a slacker and I wouldn’t be as much on my game. I’ve always liked taking a leadership role. And (without it) I wouldn’t know how to talk to people and network with others.”
Since its inception, Adonai has worked with 150 fellows overall and this year, will celebrate the graduation of its first full class.
While Adonai already provides a wealth of developmental programming, in July 2014, Carter said they plan to add another component to its program-a Black male entrepreneur development program that will focus on developing the entrepreneurial skill sets needed to run a successful business. The males will take a defined business idea and be shown how to fully develop it.
As for Adonai’s future, Carter said his vision is to build a strong curriculum that can be used as the model for Black male development across the country, and that has the potential to be tailored to group, whether Black, White or female.
“I honestly couldn’t imagine my life without this program. It has gotten me college ready, showed me a lot of things and opened up my views,” Seymore said.
(For more information on the Adonai Center for Black Males, visit www.adonaicenter.org.)