Empowering boys to be men and men to be mentors is key to rebuilding the foundation of the African American community and its sustainable legacy. Implementing these notions and the components to bring to a reality were the key ingredients of the Second Annual Men’s Empowerment Conference.
“You can’t have empowerment without empowered men,” says Nashon Nicks, conference founder.
The goal of the symposium is to engage boys and men in Jacksonville and surrounding areas to communicate, educate and create solutions that will enhance the community. The free event was held at Bradham-Brooks library with participants connecting through breakout sessions and impactful guest speakers. For three full hours, over seventy males engaged in round table topics in 15 minute rotations dealing with subjects such as community development, banking, health, business development, building social equity and more. Each attendee left with certificates of completion. The conference is geared to fuel attendee’s passions and provides a purpose driven mission to ignite and strengthen the community.
Research has shown that Black men are more likely to serve as informal rather than formal mentors and that they experience barriers to serving as mentors in formal mentoring programs. Through this grassroots process, local men have the opportunity to learn to not only better structure their lives, but the lives of those around them as well.
“These sessions are beyond phenomenal,” said Earl Denby. The two time participant says he will not miss a session and gladly shares the information with his grandchildren and friends.
With participants ranging from 12-65, the diverse information will make a lasting impression on attendees. The mini conferences are held quarterly, are open to the public and free of charge.
“I cant wait for the next one. We have a whole generation to influence and I am ready t o do my part,” added Denby.
Participants engage in small group discussions.