Each minority male student will graduate from high school, go to college, vocational school or the military and be positioned to become a contributing and self-sustaining member of society..
Founded by then Miami-Dade County School Board Member Frederica S. Wilson, now a member of the United States Congress, the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project was initiated by the Miami-Dade County School Board in March 1993, due to the realization thatthere is an ongoing crisis in the lives of many young males. The project’s mission is to intervene in the lives of at-risk boys, in order to provide them with alternatives that will lead them away from a life of crime and violence.
In these times, many men are banished from the American economy and faced with choosing the drug market for survival (Essence, 1994), which increases violence in schools and society in general. Many of the former school fistfights are now gunfights. A large part of this escalation is because some parents are not taking responsibility for their children’s actions and because positive male role models are absent. We agree, society should insist that parents be held accountable for their children’s actions and education. But who will assume responsibility for the “at-risk” youngsters, who have no parents or positive role models in their lives?
The 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project is dedicated to providing the support necessary to reclaim our youth. Adult male Role Models are trained to salvage the “at-risk” boys, who may be considered as candidates for society’s endangered species list. If any natural resource is threatened, our nation instantly initiates strategies or programs to save that resource. Florida panthers, sequoia redwood forests, buffaloes, whales, wolves, manatees, and bald eagles are all prime examples. According to statistics, the minority male child is an endangered species. Therefore, it is imperative that we counter this threatened extinction with programs of prevention, development, and acceleration. Ponder the question . . . what is more important for our government to save . . . forests, animals, or men? Our answer must be pro-active and vigilant, for we are running out of time.
Our goal is to instill, in the youth of Miami-Dade County, the values of mainstream America, while respecting the existing values of the individual. The 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project focuses on three general principles:
1. Pinpoint progressive and successful men in our community to emulate;
2. Promote positive alternatives to self-destructive behaviors an societal pitfalls;
3. Everyone must assume responsibilities, preparing our youth for the challenges and struggles in today’s society.
Our goals are designed to ensure that the youth of Miami-Dade County are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and experiences that will able them to thrive in mainstream America, while instilling in them self-confidence and self-respect.
Goal #1: Place at-risk boys in supportive relationships with positive and successful men in the community who they can emulate.
Goal #2: Systematically educate program participants about the consequences of succumbing to societal pitfalls and expose them to positive alternatives to self-destructive behaviors.
Goal #3: Provide a program infrastructure that will empower adult community Role Models to assume responsibility for preparing young men to effectively deal with the challenges and struggles that threaten their success.
"It takes an entire village to 'educate' one child”. – adapted from an African Proverb
We believe the entire community must be involved in the process of changing the direction of our youth.