MALE ROLE MODELS—From left: Carlito Seymour, Judge Joe Williams and Kevin Carter.
When Carlito Seymour was a freshman in high school he had a 2.2 GPA and no plans for his future. Now, a senior at Sto-Rox High School, Seymour has a 3.3 GPA and is looking at colleges, an accomplishment he attributes to the Adonai Center for Black Males, a human capital development program serving youth throughout the region.
“My grades were horrible. I was acting up,” Seymour said. “(The Adonai Center) taught me how to be a leader. It taught me how to be better in school. It’s impacted me a lot. I always knew I had the potential to be a great student, but without this program I don’t know how I would’ve done.”
The Adonai Center is a nonprofit organization serving at-risk African-American males ages 14-24. The four-year program for young men entering the 9th grade includes academic enrichment, vocational and employability skills, life skills training, and leadership development.
“African-American males have been disadvantaged for decades. In this region, we’ve seen a decline in the success of African-American males,” said Kevin Carter, Adonai’s founder and CEO. “They need help. Just like there are other programs for homeless children, autistic children or women, it’s important to have a program for African-American males. The need for our program is tremendous.”
Founded in 2005, the program has served more than 500 young men and decreased disparities in education and employment. Of those the Adonai Center has served, 87 percent have seen an increased in academic achievement. The program also boasts a 100 percent graduation rate for students who stay in the program at least two years.
“As a fellow African-American male in the struggle, I was exposed to a lot of opportunities growing up that other Black males weren’t exposed to,” Carter said. “I was tired of not seeing other Black males have access to these opportunities so I wanted to change that dynamic.”
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Adonai Center fellows with Rev. Jesse Jackson.