PEMBROKE PARK — To Elder Mathes Guice it is evidence of a “war on our boys.” Only 41 percent of black boys graduate from high school in the United States, says the director of the Men’s Ministry at Koinonia Worship Center in Pembroke Park.
AID FOR MENTORS
“We are seeing more young black men leave the classroom, resulting in delinquency, unemployment and imprisonment,” says Guice, who also is president of the Practitioners Technical Institute (PTI). “We’re not fighting for our boys, and therefore, we’re losing them.”
While many ministries targeting at-risk boys have developed programming to keep kids engaged and off the streets, Koinonia’s Men’s Ministry has developed programs targeted toward the mentors as well. In their Youth Coach Training kit, PTI teaches men that through self-actualization and purpose fulfillment, they positively impact young lives around them.
As Elder Guice readies a national rollout for the program, he said he hopes the tools will spark a recommitment to self-improvement, and setting an example for younger generations.
“These young men are living in a world vastly different from the one we grew up in,” Guice said. “To understand the issues and how to address them, you have to realign the thinking of mentors. Our program uses proven methods to build an army of men ready to take back our wayward boys.”
The training program consists of a reference booklet, Who Am I and Why Am I Here?, and a seminar presentation. Topics include cultivating activities that support responsible social growth.
Koinonia’s Men’s Ministry has utilized the kit to train mentors in their Rites of Passage program. Across 10 years, dozens of at-risk boys have improved reading levels, school attendance and become functional members of society through the program, Guice said.
“Evidence-based practices – that is the key,” said Guice. “This Youth Coach Training kit has made a remarkable difference in the lives of at-risk boys.” The focus is on taking biblical principles and applying them to everyday life, he said.
Photo courtesy of Koinonia Worship Center/ Mathes Guice