OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Dedication in the classroom helps students achieve success in life and in some cases, saving lives. That’s the mission of 100 Black Men of Omaha’s Saturday Academy.
“We got to keep our village together. They always say we have absent fathers. I see fathers in here right now. Y’all ain’t absent, y’all here.”
A Saturday morning at school is not the ideal situation for a group of middle school students who’ve been targeted for a reason. “We are a mentoring organization and everything we do is designed to put as many positive role models and mentors in front of our youth as possible and our mission is to improve the quality of life in Omaha by helping our youth reach their fullest potential,” said 100 Black Men of Omaha Executive Director James Mason Jr.
The Saturday Academy is a tutoring program that helps students work on reading and math skills. “A a lot of times it’s the attitude that we work with and that helps change, that does carry over to the classroom so they do become more productive in the classroom,” said retired OPS teacher Steven Gray. “Keep them invested in academics. I know a lot of kids say they want to play sports, but if you can’t read you can’t do sports.”
Latrice Crittenden has seen a total transformation in her student since first enrolling him in this program last year. She’s got him back for a second time. “Actually, when we went to open house, his teacher had nothing but good things to say about him. He is more involved and liking to be in school now.”
Outside of parents buying a $15 polo shirt to invest into the program, the Saturday Academy is free. Organizers say it should cost upwards of $8,000 in programming, which includes breakfast and lunch. “We have the village approach where we have the people coming in to basically keep them on track with the quality issues as far as what is really important for their basic elements of success.”
Another great aspect of this academy is what is called “mentoring over a lifetime.” Former students, once mentored here, come back to lend leadership skills to current students. “It just means a lot because I can see future generations grow up and see how successful they will become in the future,” said Omaha North 10th grader Danny Arevalo, a student mentor.
It goes for 27 Saturdays with help from positive role models, thanks to the support of 100 Black Men of Omaha.
For more information, please contact the 100 Office at 402-934-7064 or email@example.com or complete our New Student Interest Form