Mentoring

Asante Lloyd: A Shining Star for The Why You? Initiative

Asante Lloyd

(Photo Credit: Asante Lloyd)

One of the most important services offered by The Why You? Initiative, a national non-profit organization committed to advancing and empowering young students and young professionals, is mentoring. In Critique of Pure Reason, renowned German philosopher Immanuel Kant posits that “Examples are the go-cart of judgment.” From Kant’s perspective, therefore, if a person desires quality judgment, then he or she needs quality examples. The Why You? Initiative, affectionately known as “[YU?],” is increasingly becoming a national leader in supplying America with the effective examples this perilous and disconcerting epoch necessitates. Under the leadership of Dr. Renaldo C. Blocker and Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels, [YU?] Co-Founders, and their executive leadership team, Marie Beasley, Donald Dantzler, and John Hubbard, the next generation of national and international leaders in sundry fields and spaces are emerging. Asante Lloyd, a native of Augusta, Georgia, is one such future leader the organization is developing.

Mr. Lloyd, a junior Civil Engineering major at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia, plans to pursue a master’s and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering after graduating with his undergraduate degree. Over the past three years, Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels has served as Asante’s main mentor. Daniels has known him since he was a toddler. Through an extended discourse with Daniels, Lloyd became inspired to earn a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering. His original plan was to begin his career in the field after earning his undergraduate degree. [YU?] motivates young students and young professionals across the nation to reach their highest potential. Dr. Daniels is keenly aware of Asante’s intellectual acumen and does not want him to limit himself to earning just an undergraduate degree. Lloyd appreciates this academic advisement, and he has resolved to expand his career possibilities by embarking on the challenging, yet rewarding journey to a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering.

As a high school student-athlete, Mr. Lloyd excelled academically and athletically, receiving numerous awards for football and track and superior academic achievement. He was even named Scholar-Athlete of the Year during his final year in high school. Asante evinced the reality that black male student-athletes can experience greatness in the classroom and fields and courts of athletic competition. He graduated with honors from a competitive magnate high school in Augusta, Georgia, obtaining a nationally and internationally reputable international baccalaureate (IB) diploma. Although he loves Mathematics and Science, and has always performed really well in those subjects, Asante has made great grades in all subjects. As Lloyd enters his junior year, his academic success persists—he’s still an honor student.

While his academic and athletic prowess and success are noteworthy, they do not even compare to his character. Asante is the type of child any parent desires to have. His parents, Felicia Mack and Roderick Lloyd, have done an excellent job rearing him, and they are quite proud of the accomplished young man he has become. One never hears a credible negative word spoken about him.

[YU?] prides itself on helping young students and young professionals, especially those who emerge from underrepresented backgrounds, to secure meaningful internships, including nationally competitive ones. This is why the organization’s leadership was enthused about Mr. Lloyd being selected last summer as a Scholar-Intern by the United States Department of Energy (DOE).  Impressed by his work last summer, Asante’s supervisors at the DOE invited him to return this summer to work for the agency at the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina, and he recently completed this summer’s internship experience at the DOE.

As a DOE Scholar-Intern, Mr. Lloyd gained valuable research experience in the field, and he was able to make significant contributions to the DOE, contributions that will benefit all Americans. He was able to gain knowledge and critical insights from national and international experts in his field, and these two years of experience have buttressed his understanding of how to engage in sophisticated research, apply data-driven approaches to solving complex problems, and work collaboratively with novice and experienced engineers.

[YU?] salutes Asante Lloyd for his accomplishments and for operating in a spirit of excellence.

If you would like to learn more about the work The Why You? Initiative does and would like to make a tax-deductible contribution, please visit http://www.whyyou.org. You may also donate to the organization by texting “YU” to 41444.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

Co-Founder

The Why You? Initiative

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Support Deserving Young Students and Professionals with $1 or More

Diverse Teens

(Photo Credit: Videezy)

By texting YU to 41444, you can donate $1 to $2,000 to help The Why You? Initiative, a tax-exempt non-profit organization, provide essential funding, resources and support to deserving young students and professionals across the nation who primarily emerge from economically and socially disadvantaged backgrounds. Yes, even your $1 can make a serious difference in the lives of students and young professionals who don’t have the economic means to purchase the phenomena necessary for their success. When your $1 or more is combined with thousands of others who will make the same or greater donation as you, the potential amount of money that can be amassed can exceed your wildest imagination. People express that they wish they could do something to make a real difference in people’s lives. Well, here’s your opportunity. Give whatever you have today to support numerous students across the nation who desire not to become a part of undesirable statistics. Your donation today goes a long way to ensuring that they become valuable contributors to civil society. You can claim every dollar you give to the organization on your taxes and receive that money back when you file your taxes.

The Why You? Initiative prides itself on being able to take numerous students with GPAs below 2.0 and transform them into 3.0 and above GPA students. One of the distinguishing characteristics of this organization is 100% of donations directly benefit the young students and professionals the donors intended for their donations to support. Every dollar you give, therefore, is used to purchase items for disadvantaged students and professionals. The Why You? Initiative, affectionately known as “[YU?],” is staffed with distinguished researchers, engineers, educators, lawyers, social scientists, doctors, computer scientists, community leaders, and etc. who have demonstrated success in ameliorating the progression of young students and professionals from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds. [YU?] offers young students and professionals mentoring based on empirical assessments, best practices, tutoring, financial assistance for the purchase of essential items, valuable resources, opportunities to become well-connected through the organization’s extant well-connected network and etc.

You have the power to make a true difference in the life of a young student declared “at-risk” today by making even the smallest donation. Don’t just talk about what you want to do to help deserving people—do it! Take a brief moment and text “YU” to 41444 and make your donation to The Why You? Initiative today! The organization is striving to raise $2,000 this weekend to support the immediate needs young students and professionals have across the nation. With your generosity, the organization can shatter this modest financial goal. When you donate, you will have the option of easily giving on a recurring basis, or you can simply make a one-time donation.

Thank you in advance for your support of The Why You? Initiative and the deserving young students and professionals we serve throughout the country. I encourage you to visit the organization’s website and spread the word about the organization and its aspiration to raise $2,000 this weekend.

Best wishes,

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

Co-Founder

Research & Development Director

The Why You? Initiative

daniels.antonio@whyyou.org

www.whyyou.org

Don’t Give Up on Your Mentees

Mentoring

(Photo Credit: Every Day Is School)

Effective mentors never give up on their mentees.  Your mentees may make mistake after mistake, but they still need great mentors in their lives to continue to encourage them to do better.  We all have made mistakes and will continue to make mistakes.  Your punishment for your mentee, therefore, shouldn’t be to abandon him or her.  Too many phony mentors stop mentoring their mentees when the mentees aren’t performing well.  Many of these phony mentors simply desire to brag about what they’ve done for their mentees, so when the mentees are struggling to progress, this prevents them from engaging in vain self-promotion.  Your mentee should never have to wander around and search for a new mentor, and/or seek the guidance of another mentor simply because you don’t feel like being bothered with him or her any longer.

Authentic and effective mentors never make mentoring about them—they always make it about those they mentor.

To be an effective mentor, you have to have a true love for helping people.  The person you’re mentoring needs your help and love.  When you’re a selfish mentor, you lack the love necessary to be useful not only to your mentee but also to yourself.  True mentors don’t engage in self-aggrandizement; they aren’t vain people. You have some pathetic mentors who don’t want their mentees to have achievements greater than their own.

Mentoring is serious business.  If you’re not truly interested in helping people to progress in their various endeavors, then stop calling yourself a “mentor” and stop pretending like you’re so serious about mentoring. You need to recognize when you shouldn’t be mentoring anyone; you’re the one who needs to be mentored.

No one said mentoring is easy.  You’re going to experience some challenges and problems while mentoring. Those challenges and problems shouldn’t cause you to become a coward and run away from them and your mentees. Those problems and challenges should come to make you an even more effective mentor by you learning to tackle them boldly and directly.  Too many of our vulnerable young people are being lost because mentors are giving up on them.  Many mentors often give up on these young people simply because they sometimes didn’t do what the mentors told them to do.  Well, how many times did your mother and/or father tell you to do something and you didn’t do it? Exactly. Did your mother and/or father give up on you?  Why give up on your mentees then?

Your mentee shouldn’t feel more comfortable talking to another mentor and seeking the guidance of another mentor more than you.  When this happens, you’ve done some things that have made your mentee lack confidence in you.  One of the ways you can cause your mentee to lack confidence in you is to avoid him or her.  Constantly letting the mentee’s calls get answered by voicemail is a sure way to evince your disinterest. Stop avoiding his or her calls and be honest with him or her about how you’re feeling. Communicate your displeasures with him or her.  Don’t be afraid to demand him or her to do better than he or she is currently doing.  If you’re going to be an effective mentor, then you have to be willing to have frank discourses with your mentees.  Although the conversations may be unpleasant at first, they will learn how beneficial it is for you to be open and candid with them.

If your mentee seems to change his or her mind frequently about career goals, don’t become frustrated with him or her.  View this as an opportunity to assist them in becoming more focused and committed to specific career aspirations.  Working in collaboration with your mentee, devise a plan to aid him or her in accomplishing career aspirations.  He or she will have some specific things to work towards and focus on, diminishing those proclivities to shift frequently from one desired career to another.  If you give your mentee time to talk to you, you may discover that it’s really not changes in career goals he or she really has but simply a longing to have someone listen to him or her.  To be an effective mentor, you have to recognize when your mentee simply needs to talk to someone, and the successful mentor makes himself available to listen.

When another mentor has to devote a significant amount of more time to your mentee than you spend with him or her, you’re simply a pathetic mentor.  What you need to do is go back and sincerely assess whether you were committed to being a mentor in the first place.  Don’t let your failure to be there for your mentee result in him or her becoming a victim of depression, which can lead him or her to committing suicide.  Do you really want that on your conscious?

Your mentee needs you.  Don’t give up on him or her.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dispel the False Allure of the “Facebook Fire Challenge”

Facebook Fire Challenge

(Photo Credit: Forward Times Online)

Recently, there has been a burgeoning interest in the “Facebook Fire Challenge,” where mostly young guys, are sharing via Facebook their acts of self-immolation. This phenomenon is one of the strongest examples of how destructive this willingness to do almost anything to gain fame has become.  As someone who has devoted his academic and social justice work to ameliorating the lives of Black boys and men, it’s disheartening to witness a disproportionate number of these self-immolations being committed by young Black males.  This is why we have to continue to promote strengthening the Black male educational pipeline. Ensuring that Black males are receiving a high quality education, regardless of their backgrounds, is the key to combating a nihilistic spirit that’s running rampant throughout America, including in many impoverished Black communities.  Authentic, selfless and quality mentoring of young Black males is one of the most powerful tools of resistance we have at our disposal against this growing nihilistic spirit in America, especially in many Black communities.

Our young Black males need people around them who will tell and show them they love them and that they matter.  Nihilism is imbuing the psyches of too many young Black males.  We have to stay actively involved in their lives to help them avoid doing damaging and unproductive things.  While many may assert that one of the central reasons why many Black males are involving themselves in the “Facebook Fire Challenge” is the absence of numerous Black fathers in the home, we can no longer allow this to be the oversimplified conclusion of the narrative.  We have to identify homes where there are young Black males with absent fathers, and when we locate these homes, we need community leaders to partner those young guys with quality mentors.  How can we practically accomplish this?

Well, we’re always taking about starting a movement and/or being part of a movement.  Why don’t we start a national movement to take back our Black boys from the manacles of despondency and nihilism?  One of the best ways to prevent our Black boys from being destroyed by despondency and nihilism is to create mentoring programs in every community where Black boys are present.  We need to partner every Black boy with a mentor, especially those boys with absent fathers.  These programs don’t have to cost any money to form.  It does not cost any money to be willing to accept the role of a true mentor.  If community leaders would like to develop mentoring programs that are highly sophisticated and well-financed, this, of course, is absolutely fine.  Regardless of the approach taken in each community, what’s most important is for the community to act.  Young Black boys need to see more examples of success in their communities.  Successful individuals within their communities can aid in modeling success for them.

Have you endorsed the “Facebook Fire Challenge”?  You have if you’ve shared one video of these acts of self-immolation.  Stop sharing these videos.  When these young people begin to see that they don’t have a large audience for their foolish acts, they will realize self-immolation is an act that will not gain them the attention they desire.  Instead of sharing videos of acts of self-immolation, let’s use various social media platforms to oppose participation in the “Facebook Fire Challenge,” and let’s provide substantive education about the dangers of involving one’s self in such risky behavior.  Too many young people believe they will earn respect from millions of people across the country and world by posting videos of themselves participating in the “Facebook Fire Challenge,” but when more young folks hear and read a significant number of fervid protests against involvement in this phenomenon, we will have made a noble effort to encourage them to come off of a metaphorical bridge to disaster.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Helping Students and Young Professionals Succeed: The Why You? Initiative

Renaldo C. Blocker Foundation

(Photo Credit: Thinking Sociology)

Dr. Renaldo C. Blocker, Research Associate at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and University of Wisconsin-Madison Ph.D. graduate in Industrial and Systems Engineering, has founded, in consultation with a distinguished Executive Committee (Strategy Team) that includes doctors, lawyers, social scientists, educators, researchers, community leaders and others, the Renaldo C. Blocker Foundation.  One the primary purposes of the Renaldo C. Blocker Foundation is embodied in the Foundation’s establishment of The Why You? Initiative.  The Why You? Initiative strives to help ameliorate the academic, social, professional, and personal evolution of high school, undergraduate, graduate, post-graduates and young professionals who may come from low-income, marginalized, disadvantaged and/or at-risk backgrounds.

The Why You? Initiative is committed to offering practical and creative solutions and inspiration to the aforementioned individuals to empower them to unleash their maximum potential.  Many leaders of this initiative come from challenging backgrounds and have had to endure difficult experiences, and those backgrounds and experiences lend themselves useful to this organization being able to equip diverse people with the knowledge, motivation, prowess, experiences, and opportunities to excel in sundry fields.

It’s the core belief of The Why You? Initiative that education is one of the most powerful vehicles for leading people to success.

The Why You? Initiative takes a comprehensive approach to offering longitudinal support to each member of its target population.  Students and young professionals receive services tailored to their specific needs.  At the core of what makes its services successful is the individualized mentoring technique.  Each student and young professional is partnered with his or her own personal mentor.  An extensive body of professional literature has revealed that the absence of mentoring is what leads to academic, professional and personal failure.  This Initiative features programs and services that are based on data-driven research.  The Why You? Initiative takes special care to engender a belief in its targeted students and young professionals that they have the capacity to accomplish all of their aspirations.

Some of the free services The Why You? Initiative will offer to students and young professionals across the nation are as follows: mentoring, self-esteem development, academic preparation, career placement, writing and mathematics workshops, research and internship experiences, life skills training and image/branding management.

Revolutionary Paideia announces that it will be one of the first sponsors of The Why You? Initiative and the future work of the Renaldo C. Blocker Foundation.  Revolutionary Paideia endorses The Why You? Initiative and the Renaldo C. Blocker Foundation as a whole.

Help Dr. Renaldo C. Blocker and his distinguished Executive Committee (Strategy Team) to help deserving students and young professionals across the nation to be equipped to succeed academically, professionally, and personally.  Click on the following address to donate today: http://www.whyyou.org/.  Give as often as you can and as much as you can.  Any amount you give will be greatly appreciated.  No amount is too small and no amount is too large.  Help a person in need today by making your donation and sharing this article and information about The Why You? Initiative with others.

Thank you for your support.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Effective Mentoring Necessitates Activism

Obama Honors Bush

(Photo Credit: U.S. News)

When one is seriously committed to providing effective mentoring, activism has to be central to how he or she mentors.  Although things you do for your mentee on a one-on-one level is essential, you fail to maximize the outcomes of your mentoring when you don’t become an activist for your mentee.  Don’t simply localize your mentoring efforts; make your efforts as global as possible.  When you passionately advocate for mentoring at the local, state and national level, you can have an impact on public policy, and you can build a larger community of mentors and activists who support your cause(s).

After the tragic murder of Trayvon Martin, we should understand how vital it is to take genuine steps toward protecting our children from those who wish to do them harm.  In no way am I suggesting that Trayvon Martin is dead today because he didn’t have a mentor.  He has excellent and educated parents who love him.  He died because a man desired to kill him.  George Zimmerman and many others perceive the Black male body—no matter the age of that Black body—as a threat.

Our children need to be educated about how racists and others stigmatize and profile them as threats and problems and how they should respond to these realities.  In The Souls of Black Folk (1903), W.E.B. Du Bois asked a powerful question: “How does it feel to be a problem?”  Many Americans see Black boys as not “a problem” but as the “problem.”  Although every child needs to have a mentor in his or her life, it’s not optional for a Black boy to have a mentor in his life—it’s a matter of survival.  For those of us who mentor young children and/or adults, we have to wake this nation up to the importance of mentoring.  We have to bring enough attention at the state and national level so that investing money and resources in support of mentoring efforts becomes a national priority.

On July 16, 2013, at an event honoring former President George H.W. Bush and the 5,000th  recipient of the Daily Points of Light Award, President Obama announced he created a new task force to resolve how federal agencies and private companies could use members of AmeriCorps and similar programs “on some of our most important national priorities: improving schools, recovering from disasters, and mentoring our kids.”  This is certainly positive news.  We cannot, however, let the potential of increasing funding and resources for mentoring stop at the level of a White House task force.  Without public input and activism, especially from those currently involved in mentoring, nothing fruitful may emerge from the work of this task force.  This task force needs to hear from us, and it’s crucial that this task force benefits from our knowledge, ideas, experience and research about mentoring.  When the President of United States is willing to construct a task force dedicating critical attention to mentoring, we cannot squander this valuable opportunity to make supporting mentoring a national priority.

Contact your congressional representatives and share your ideas, knowledge, experiences and research with them about mentoring, and let them know specifically what you want communicated to this newly created White House task force.  Additionally, let your congressional and state representatives know that you desire for them to invest funding in local, state and national programs, organizations, and initiatives committed to mentoring.  If the American people make mentoring a true priority, then their elected official will have no choice but to make it a priority.

Don’t simply continue to mentor the two or three individuals you’re mentoring and never take the crucial step of becoming an activist for them.  Mobilize your community to get involved in mentoring and to demand that local, state and federal policymakers invest in mentoring.  Making substantive investments in mentoring will be one of the best uses of taxpayers’ dollars in American history.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison