For over 20 years, the 5000 Role Models Project, a drop-out prevention program, has fulfilled its mission of guiding minority boys along the path to manhood and sending them to college. A participant will be matched with a mentor on an annual basis until he completes the program. Mentors and site directors receive training on working with curriculum that is based on distinct elements: Higher-education Preparation, The Criminal Justice System, Healthcare, Violence Prevention, and Anger Management. The program teaches participants to respect law enforcement, the law, women, school officials, and parents. The matches meet weekly in-schools for two hours. Presently, the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project serves 98 chapters, within Miami-Dade County Public Schools. The project serves more than 8,000 youths age 9-19; more than 8,000 volunteers, mostly African American men, have signed on as mentors since the program was created in 1993.
Photos courtesy of Robert Vigon and the Miami Marlins