The 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project is a dropout prevention, mentoring program committed to closing the minority male achievement (access) gap by guiding minority male students along a carefully charted path through grades K-12 and college or ensuring the attainment of other post-secondary credentials, and increasing their employability in higher wage, high skills jobs within high demand industries.
Participants and Volunteers
Presently, the program serves approximately 8,000 students in 105 schools, including 37 Elementary, 24 Middle, 33 Senior High, and 11 K-8 Centers in Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS). The expansion program in Pinellas County Schools serves more than 500 students in 20 middle and senior high school chapters, and in 2015-2016 Duval County Public Schools opened another 10 chapters. Over 6,000 volunteers dedicate their time and resources to the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project.
Minority boys, ages 9 -19 year olds who have promise but are at-risk because of negative behaviors and/or socio-economic conditions are referred by school principals, counselors, teachers and/or parents. The program primarily serves children who are being reared without the benefit of a father or a positive male role model, and most students enter the program in middle school and continue activities throughout their high school and post-secondary education years.
Twenty-six components constitute the program and are designed to teach young boys about healthy living, responsibility, respect, and attaining future goals.
1. General Conferences, Summits and Symposiums/HIV-AIDS Conferences
2. Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Awareness "Fridays"
3. Workshops and Training For Mentors
4. One-to-one Mentoring, Group Mentoring and Peer Mentoring
5. Year Round Curriculum Teaching Survival Skills For Young Boys
6. Employment Opportunities For Students
7. Youth Summits and Health Symposiums In Cooperation With Local Hospitals
8. Annual Police and Youth Relations Conferences and Workshops
9. Spiritual Aspects Including Ministerial Involvement
10. Annual Recognition of Mentors and Induction of New Mentors
11. Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Scholarship Breakfast
12. Annual "Finished High School. . . Now What"? Conference and Rites of Passage
13. Annual Scholarship Presentations to Graduating Seniors
14. Field Trips To Correctional Facilities
15. Field Trips to College Campus Tours
16. 5000 Role Models of Excellence Billboard Project
17. Emphasis on African-American History and Culture
18. Community Service Performed by All Student Participants
19. Daily Planner
20. WPLG-Channel 10 television show "By Kids for Kids"
21. A Reward for Good Grades (5000 Role Models Sneakers)
22. Ambassadors Program
23. Miami-Dade County Days - State Legislature
24. Publications: Police & Youth Brochure
25. Critical Thinking Training
26. FCAT Tutoring & FCAT Workshops
The program also teaches participants to respect law enforcement, the law, women, school officials, and parents. Institutions of higher learning , including Florida Memorial University, University of Miami, Florida International University, Florida A & M University Bethune Cookman University, and Miami Dade College host and provide resources to enhance the boys’ experiences. Students are also exposed to valuable educational, political, and social leadership opportunities that are designed to develop and strengthen their leadership skills.
College and Career Support
When students enter the program, they are guaranteed an opportunity to attend college or attain other post-secondary credentials geared toward ensuring that program participants are positioned for employment in higher wage, high skills jobs within high demand industries. Eligible students are employed in the private sector throughout high school. Mentors from the program assist students in this process.
Funds for scholarships are raised annually at the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Scholarship Breakfast. Thousands of young men have been recipients of scholarships since its inception in 1993. To date, over $10 million in scholarships have been awarded to students successfully completing the program.
The students and adult mentors wear a distinctive uniform consisting of black pants, a white dress shirt, and a 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project signature necktie. Custom-made 5000 Roles Models sneakers are awarded to program participants in recognition of academic excellence. All items are earned through benchmark accomplishments related to discipline and academics.
Mentor Training and Expectations
Mentors receive training on delivering with fidelity the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project program curriculum to program participants during mentoring sessions. The curriculum is based on 27 distinct elements including: higher-education preparation, the criminal justice system, health-care, violence prevention, and anger management. Mentors and students meet at least once per week in-school for two hours during the school year, and at least four times per year for an extracurricular activity on weekends or 3 during the summer.
Teachers have reported a drastic reduction in the number of students who have no further problems with discipline after joining the program. Over 95 percent of the students who begin the program graduate, and have no further violations of student conduct codes or the law. School personnel and parents are amazed at the students’ transformation. The waiting list of applicants is staggering. At least ten schools are currently seeking to initiate 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project programs on their campuses.