In 1996, One Hundred Men of Shreveport began touching the lives of youth from low/moderate income families. This was accomplished through our Monthly Mentoring Program. This program was sponsored by the members of our organization. The members involved in this program were successful men who were willing to join together to expose young black males to positive influences and environments. These members agreed to take fifty disadvantaged youth and engage in activities that would be fun as well as educational. These activities would promote a positive impact on the lives of the mentors as well as the youth. They agreed on outings such as camping, fishing, movies, Six Flags, ball games, bowling, etc. To further help in developing relationships with these youth, we listened to their problems and their concerns and provided assistance to them in every possible aspect of their lives.
Some of the youth were continuously getting into trouble, therefore we developed the Conflict Resolution Sessions. We used movies on various topics and had group discussions on proper and improper behaviors and actions. Furthermore, we learned that some of these youth problems stemmed from illiteracy. We then, understood more of their dilemma and decided to expand our programs to include an after school Tutoring Program that primarily focuses on reading comprehension and math skills. In 1998, we started our first tutorial program off-site at the Willis-Knighton Pierre Avenue Health Center serving 10 students initially. Due to the success of this program, the continued inquiries and the needs for such a program we chose to expand. OHMOS petitioned the City of Shreveport, for an abandoned fire station located at 4030 Wallace Avenue in the heart of Caddo Heights Community. We acquired the facility in April, 1999 and began renovations in June of that same year. The building was officially opened August 13, 1999. Our Programs at the new center began in September 1999. We started an additional tutorial program on-site. This brought our tutorial enrollment to twenty. This facility also has a state of the art Computer Lab with a total of seven computers networked and Internet capable. This state of the art Computer Lab is the home of our Computer Literacy Program. This program has instructed twenty-one youth on computer skills this year. Our organization also offers a Martial Arts Program free of charge to approximately twenty-two male youth.
Most of these children’s’ social and economic status is consistent with poverty. We have initiated the Career Preparation Project . This project is to help better prepare these young men with the necessary tools needed to effectively seek and obtain employment. Thus far, six young men ages 14-17 have successfully completed this Career Preparation Project. The participants rotated through six Health Care Professions at the Willis-Knighton Health System.