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How Black Men 100 Of Chicago, Inc. Is Changing The Lives Of Chicago Youth

When you think a Chicago youth what do you picture? Growing up on the West Side of the city it’s not always pretty. Some people may think of drugs, gangs, and teenage pregnancies while others see hope, future, and stability. 100 Black Men of Chicago, Inc. sees possibility. Possibility in guiding local youth on the West and South Sides to be the best they can be.

100 Black Men of Chicago, Inc. started in 1994 when a group of men wanted to help guide youth, focusing on young men in the city, in positive directions through educational opportunities and mentoring. Programs that the organization provide encourages young black men in the city to achieve and think of themselves as more than where they come from.

Programs

100BMC Youth Images, Photography by LeVern A. Danley III
Photography by LeVern A. Danley III http://www.LeVernDanley.com

Mentoring, a large component of the program, happens on a weekly basis where mentee and mentor relationships are formed. This program aligns with the school year to provide services to young men during their academic year.

Scholarship fair and fundraiser are to help young men to be exposed and afford college. For more than 15 years, the scholarship fair happens during the fall where youth and their families get a chance to see colleges and universities from all over. This event provides youth with information for  post-secondary education, provide millions of dollars in grants and scholarships, and offers for enrollment to eligible students. In addition, the scholarship fundraiser is monies gathered by 100 BMC to support graduating men from high school and their mentoring program to pursue post high school education.

 Why Is This Needed

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Before 100 BMC, I have never been exposed to an organization that particularly focused on black men. There are a lot of controversy that seem to surround black men but, here is a program that provides a helping hand. This guidance comes from other black men who may have shared similar struggles and can advise on how to overcome them. The program also provides young women with the opportunity of mentorship and guidance into young adulthood.

In order to see a change in youth residing urban Chicago areas, there has to be an example and what 100 Black Men of Chicago, Inc. is doing is only the beginning.

 

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Hitting The Ice

One of the most tossed around phrases in all of sports is “defense wins championships.” It seems pretty simple, right? If your team can prevent your opponent from scoring more points, then you should be a pretty successful team. This season, out of all the issues the Blackhawks will encounter, defense will be their number one concern.

To say the defense is thin is a little bit of an understatement. Yes, they do have Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook coming back but outside of those two guys, the Blackhawks don’t have much depth. The loss of Niklas Hjalmarsson and Marian Hossa is huge. Outside of Keith and Seabrook, Hjalmarsson was the Blackhawks best defenseman. The direction General Manager Stan Bowman went in the return of the Hjalmarsson trade shows that the Hawks are trying to do one thing on defense— to get younger.

Connor Murphy was the key return in the Niklas Hjalmarsson trade. Not only is he under team control, but he is also 24-years-old. With the other defensive prospects the Hawks have, Bowman is hinting that getting younger on the back end is a priority, not only because of the talent aspect, but because of the salary aspect, as well. The majority of the Hawks’ money is going to Toews, Kane, Keith, Seabrook, Hossa, and Saad. This allows Bowman to keep those players, while developing these younger defensemen. Most importantly, they are still on low salary contracts.

How much of a concern should the Hawks’ defense be? Personally, on a scale of 1 to 10, I’d say an eight, mainly because so many questions remain unanswered. Questions such as who is going to fill the Hjalmarsson void? How much ice time can Duncan Keith handle this season? Will Joel Queneville be able to trust those younger defensemen coming out of camp? Can Seabrook bounce back from last season? Can Michal Roszival return healthy and play decently? Do we see any improvement in Michael Kempny?

Don’t get me wrong, the Hawks have a lot of young defensemen who can really take advantage of an opportunity, but if last year’s post season was any indication, it’s that the Hawks are going to have to be better.

My prediction: the Blackhawks WILL make the playoffs, BUT not win the Central Division or the Stanley Cup this season.

The Nashville Guide to Guarantee A Good Time

nashvilletn1Nashville is one of the greatest cities on Earth and is considered the country music capital of the country. Just a couple weeks ago, I had the chance to take a road trip down to Nashville.  And for a weekend, I was able to fully engross myself in the culture that surrounds the city.

One of the nights I was there, I was sitting at a bar, sipping on a Miller Lite, smoking a cigarette and watching Duke play their first game in the 2015 NCAA March Madness. Within the first 5 minutes, I was able to strike up a conversation with the man sitting next to me. What he told me stuck with me for the remainder of the trip. The man said, “Nashville is a great, friendly city. You could be sitting next to a man who makes two million a year, and all that matters is that conversation being had right now, sharing a toast with a new friend.”

When you get the chance to spend at least one night in Nashville, there are a few tips I would like to share with you to help make your experience the greatest it could ever be.

1. When in Nashville, before anything, make sure you hit Broadway first.

nashville-honkytonks-480Broadway is the main street in the heart of downtown Nashville. It’s a long strip, where you can find many musicians playing to get noticed at various venues, from open to close. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s also very touristy.

2. Take advantage of the many amazing venues throughout the city.

Like I said before, Nashville is the country music capital, so there is always music happening throughout the city. There are tons of amazing venues where you can catch an affordable show. For example, you can catch a show at the Bridgestone Arena, the Ryman Auditorium and the best venue of them all, the Grand Ole Opry, which resides in Opryland.  This is where all the major country artists such as Garth Brooks, Eric Church, Dierks Bentley and many more, have performed at some point in their lives.Opry-Stage_Main_01

3. Explore outside of the downtown.

You will always find the tourists downtown. If you’re into that, then by all means go to Tootsie’s or Robert’s Western World. But if you want to have a rowdy night, you will want to visit the bars where all the locals like to hangout. While I was in Nashville, I had the chance to hangout at a dive bar called Santa’s Pub. The pub is literally two trailers pusSantas-pubhed together. Once you walk in, there’s a small bar to the left a karaoke station to your right and an old outdated cigarette vending machine in the back.  Santa’s Pub is frequented by locals, and virtually unknown to tourists.

The city of Nashville really holds up the title of Country Music Capital. No matter what bar you go to, you will be able to find a country artist performing, whether they are big or small. Follow these tips and I promise you: you will have the time of your life, just as I do every time that I step foot in Nashville.