The A-TEAAM is a mentorship program that began in 2012 and inspires young males of color in middle school to honor the life and live the legacy of Medgar Evers as they interact with a “village” of role models and mentors. This ‘village’ of mentors provides support and one-on-one guidance, utilizing a meaningful curriculum to empower these young men as they matriculate through middle school. The purpose of the A-TEAAM Movement is to improve the quality of life for young males of color by equipping them with the necessary skills, knowledge, support provided by a caring mentor. The objective is to assist them in making internal changes with an outcome of increased positive self-esteem and overall improvement in the way they live and view the world.
Between 2013 and 2016 the goal of the A-TEAAM is to identify 200 males of color across to start a movement that empowers these them to be confident and to overcome inevitable obstacles that they will encounter. Each year 40-60 young men are selected to participate in this project. Each year the project consists of a minimum of twelve 1-hr sessions from September to April. Additional sessions include an organization presidents’ training, a mentor training session, ambassadors’ orientation that includes their parents and teachers.
This program improves the quality of life for young males of color and their families in several middle schools, including Blackburn Laboratory, Hardy and Powell Middle Schools in Jackson and Nichols and Porter Middle Schools in Canton. Parental and teacher involvement are critical and necessary components of this project. Twenty-two (22) community based organizations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The JSD Foundation agreeing to provide a ‘village’ of 4-6 mentors for two of the young males participating in the program.