Dear Members and Friends,
In many respects, most people have determined that 2016 was a tough year. While there may have been some disappointments, I believe every day is a blessing. It is through this lens that I believe 2016 was a successful year of engagement for the 100 Black Men of Jacksonville (J100). As president, I am very proud of the work that you have done to assist our community, both through mentoring and standing up on issues that touch thousands of lives in Duval County.
2016 saw the success of another J100 Infinite Scholar College Fair. Our Bernard V. Gregory Scholarship Fund continues to provide financial assistance to deserving students throughout the community. In 2017, we will also congratulate Le’Andre Fox and Aviance McKenzie for receiving scholarships from the 100 Black Men of America. The J100 continues to support education opportunities for youth in our community to encourage successful matriculation. This achievement is a credit to the work of our Education and Scholarship Committee as they provide leadership and guide resources where most effective. In 2017, with continued committee leadership, outcomes will be even more promising.
As 2016 drew to a close, many members were involved in the design and implementation of the upcoming Project Success Mentoring and Leadership Development Program. In 2017, this promises to be the J100 signature mentoring effort. It will be “all hands on deck,” to empower our students with the knowledge and exposure of what we have to offer. This aggressive group mentoring program will be led by the Mentoring Committee, and will feature a diverse injection of professional and social skills development designed to engage and inspire our youth towards their greatness.
Also in 2016, the J100 successfully partnered with Teen Leaders of America to execute a two-day, three-school college tour for 24 students to Savannah, Georgia. This year, as a key part of Project Success curriculum, we will again partner with Teen Leaders of America for a three-day college tour to Charlotte, North Carolina. It is our hope as an organization that college tour exposure remain an important and active effort for the J100.
The J100 continues to make an impact on one of the most important health issues facing African American men, prostate cancer. Growing nationally, the J100 has made a bold commitment to participate in prostate cancer research, advocacy and policy recommendations as it relates to screening, diagnosis, treatment and quality of life issues. In 2017, we will begin officially coordinating Health and Wellness Committee efforts with the Florida Department of Health to build sustainability and capture resources for our work. As a result, much of the work we have invested and been engaged in will inform programming for the next 100 Black Men of America National Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 7-11.
The close of 2016 also saw change to our organization. Through recently held elections, we will swear in a new slate of officers to begin terms in 2017. For those turning over the reins, I am proud to have served with you in guiding the J100. Brothers, job well done. To our new executive leadership members, you will now be entrusted with a higher level of commitment to your community and the J100. As your president, I am truly thankful for your confidence in my leadership and service. My promise to you is to always lead on behalf of the community and the J100. I will always be open to your ideas and concerns. We are men. We are mentors. And my expectation for us all is to carry out the J100 mission through love and respect for each other and the community we serve.
In 2017, we will be focused on improving our capacity to care for and support the community where we work, live, and play. As your President, I could not be more excited about the potential for success in impacting the lives of those we serve.
One mission. One cause. One network.
Happy New Year Brothers!
100 Black Men of Jacksonville, Inc.