By Cori Lucas,
Young Black men and boys need the support of the village now more than ever before. Mentoring Male Teens in the Hood (MMTH) is stepping in to be the supportive village that Black boys need in order to mature with respect, self-esteem, and the drive to always be their best selves. Here, boys 8-18 years old sharpen their math, reading and writing skills, adhere to key principles of manhood and leadership, and do a lot of disciplinary push-ups. They also encourage real conversations about life in the “hoods” of Baltimore and readily provide mentorship on how to navigate their circumstances.
Founder Cameron Miles has been running MMTH since 1996. During his time working with the Department of Social Services, he’s encountered countless boys casually engaging in inappropriate language, crude behavior, and unnecessary physical violence. Cameron wrote the Department a proposal for a program built to address the lack of foundation he saw in these young men. It was approved, and the first meeting of Mentoring Male Teens in the Hood welcomed only 5 boys. Over the last two-and-a-half decades, MMTH has salvaged the futures of over 3,000 young boys. Sadly, the organization has lost four of their young men to gun violence since its conception. Cameron uses their obituaries, perpetually pinned on their bulletin board, as motivation to continue his work.
Given all the funding and resources Mentoring Male Teens in the Hood needed, their staff would be appropriately compensated for their diligent work. They would have a “direct link to the juvenile justice system so that young people would not be going to the system, but would be coming to [their] program instead of being locked up”. MMTH would also purchase a building for their organization where they would house a wide range of amenities for the boys’ advancement, including a recording studio, a gymnasium, and an on-site mental health specialist. They’d be able to serve as a platform for dialogue between at-risk boys and girls about their lives and experiences, and what changes need to be made for a brighter future in Baltimore. They’d also work with housing-advocacy organizations to establish solutions for their homeless participants.
Mentoring Male Teens in the Hood accepts boys from the Department of Juvenile Services, the Department of Social Services, and the Baltimore City School System Office of Suspension Services. They hold several engaging events every month including speakers, team-building exercises, and workshops. Their Summer Enrichment Trips take the boys out of West Baltimore to experience inspiring atmospheres such as universities, museums, even space centers! To learn more about Mentoring Male Teens in the Hood mentorship and donate to their organization, visit their page at cllctivly.org/listing/mentoring-male-teens-in-the-hood or follow them @cmilesmmth.