CBMLA Mentors/Mentees and LA Clippers Mentors Assist Zone.
CBMLA Mentors/Mentees and LA Clippers Mentors Assist Zone.  Photo Courtesy of CBMLA

On Friday, August 19, 2016, the Concerned Black Men of Los Angeles (CBMLA) will host its 2nd Annual Awards Banquet honoring men and women who serve as mentors for at-risk youth in the Los Angeles community. The Honorable Rupert Byrdsong, Los Angeles Superior Court, will be the keynote speaker.

For the past 13 years, CBMLA has provided academic support, career enrichment, and mentorship for Black male youth throughout the greater Los Angeles area. Mark Anderson, former Postmaster for Los Angeles and current President of CBMLA said, “the number of kids in our community who are fatherless sons is astounding. About 90 to 95% of the middle school students we mentor, do not have a male figure in their lives.”  “Black male kids are growing up without strong male influences and as a community we know that the absence of a father can lead to greater problems for our young boys.”

According to Anderson, CBMLA is an organization that is committed to changing the trajectory of the lives of the kids that they mentor. The members/mentors for CBMLA are well aware of the statistics that forecast the grim news that one in three Black boys born today can expect to go to prison at some point in their life time compared to one in every 17 for young white males. “CBMLA seeks to impact lives through their various programs like Welcome to Manhood, LA Clippers Mentor Assist Zone, CBM Cares, the Reach Back Campaign, the Advanced Leadership Program, and Let’s Play Golf; programs designed to give our young men opportunities to thrive.

“What I love about our organization, is that we are committed not only to the academic success of our mentees but also to their emotional, and psychological development. We want them to succeed in every aspect of life so we teach them basic life skills such as how to tie a tie, make eye contact when being introduced, and how to shake hands with other men, just to name a few of the basic skills that are taught,“ said Anderson.

CBMLA Learning to Surf
CBMLA Mentees Learning to Surf.   Photo Courtesy of CBMLA

Because of fruitful partnerships CBMLA enjoys with other organizations such as the Black Peace Officers Association Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles Clippers, Ralph’s/Food 4 Less, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Hawthorne Middle School, North Area Neighborhood Development Council, the Community Health Council, the United Job Creation Council, Hyde Park Library, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Regional Library, African American Postal League United for Success (APLUS), and Grace Lee International, mentees of CBMLA are also exposed to cultural and sporting activities such as learning to surf, playing golf, and attending theatrical performances at the Pasadena Playhouse.

Mark Anderson, President of CBMLA.
Mark Anderson, President of CBMLA.   Photo Courtesy of CBMLA

“Through mentorship, the members of CBMLA will tell you that they have witnessed young lives being changed for the better and through meaningful dialogue and long lasting relationships, their lives (the mentors) have been changed as well. “ We expect that the mentees who are mentored by us will pay it forward one day and become mentors to other young men in their respective communities. This is how we can begin to break the cycle of fatherless sons. I am the biological father of a daughter but CBMLA provides the opportunity for those who are willing to become a father figure to young boys who need and want male support.

To purchase tickets for the CBMLA 2nd Annual Awards Banquet on August 19th, visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2556149 or contact Mark Anderson at 323.868.0299. To volunteer as mentor for CBMLA, visit www.cbmla.org.