BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – One of the longest-standing organizations in Baton Rouge is impacting kids in low-income areas, by preparing youth and young adults to lead the way.
“For our communities for so long, we have not received resources in the way that we think we should. And obviously, that’s led to other issues, and that have only trickled down and made things worse,” said Dadrius Lanus, executive director of 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge.
The 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge, a mentoring organization that’s been in existence for over 30 years is impacting students from sixth grade through college across the capital area.
“We’re here as anchors to not only start and have conversation but also to drive impact across the board. We are the people who… if you can’t talk to the mayor, we go and talk on your behalf. We’re the people that if you can’t reach out to your local school system, we go and do that on your behalf,” said Lanus.
Lanus says kids between the ages of 14 to 24 commit the most crime in the area. The organization’s priority is tackling violence in the toughest areas of Baton Rouge through mentoring.
Lanus says his experience has come full circle. From mentee to mentor.
“I came from a single-parent household with a family of four. And I saw how difficult some things were for my mother. So, having the 100 there to just support her. To just support my family, it just does tremendous things for my life,” said Lanus.
Anthony Kenney, director of programs and communication for 100 Black Men of Baton Rouge, says being surrounded by strong and influential Black men can change the trajectory for a lot of the young guys in the Project Excel program.
Kenney says they strive to teach financial literacy and provide life skills.
“We believe that young Black males in Baton Rouge have the opportunity to be holistic citizens to society. They should understand how to be a man. How to financially save as a man,” said Kenney.
Lanus says his goal is to show young men they can have a rough up-brining and still succeed in life. Out of the 100 students they serve, 70 percent received a 3.0 or higher across five different parishes.
“We take kids from where ever they are in life. Some people would think that we take some of the better kids. That’s not true. What I can say is that our product, our programs they absolutely work,” said Lanus.
Kenney says boys are the future of our community and success lies in the hands of Black leaders.
“We’re giving back to these young males because eventually down the line everybody in the organization is not going to be here in the next 20 to 25 years – right? And so we have to make sure that we properly groom that generation behind us,” said Kenney.
For parents looking for programs to enhance their child’s life, Lanus says help is there. He encourages families to get their young men involved in 100 Black Men of Metro Baton Rouge.