Local hidden figures

Published 8:21 pm Wednesday, August 30, 2017

You’ve heard about them— those hidden figures in and around our communities who are doing the work to help shape the American Dream in the hearts and minds of the young and the not so young.

Today’s hidden figures of note are the M.E.N. who have taken it upon themselves to greet our children at the entrances of our local schools as the school buses drop them off everyday.  The M.E.N. (an acronym that means Mentoring, Empowering and Nurturing) speak volumes in a place where more mentoring coming from multiple places is a welcomed sight, where empowering for some of the children they greet as they get off the buses may be a foreign concept in some of the children’s homes and where nurturing a little soul is a different kind of fuel from breakfast but goes a long way.

Pastor Karanja Story, Senior Pastor of the Rehoboth Baptist Church initiated the group after reading an article, which according to him said men need to be more active in the educational journey of our children.

“I prayed about a plan and after speaking with other men in the ministry I contacted Dr. Frankie Bell (principal of W.F. Burns Middle School in Valley) and asked if we could come welcome the kids on the first day of school and she was excited about the idea,” Story said.

The M.E.N. set out on a mission of Mentoring, Empowering and nurturing at W.F. Burns on Aug. 15 at 7 a.m. as the school bus doors swung open. The April Ross Show covered the first day at W.F. Burns and according to Story, before they could leave the campus they had other principals reaching out asking the group to greet their students as they started the day.

“The goal of the group is to simply change the lives of children one student at a time,” Story said.

Story also stated that the group are committed to the movement through-out the school year. According to Story, another member, Dr. Lamar D. Johnson of Mount Hermon Missionary Baptist Church has already started making plans for children during the summer to enrich their lives and education through various enrichment programs.

Since its inception the M.E.N. have greeted students at W.O. Lance in Lanett, Alabama, Huguley Elementary, Shawmut Elementary and plans are in the works to attend FairFax Elementary and Langdale Elementary this week.