Last year posed several difficulties for numerous local organizations, which strive for the betterment of the community. However, the 100 Black Men of Grenada continued the best way they knew how in reaching those by setting positive examples.
On a cold and brisk Christmas Eve morning, members of the organization met at the Grenada County Jail to deliver hot meals for frontline workers and mentoring those that need it most. Each member assembled with their masks to provide meals catered by O Taste and See Barbecue.
Due to the pandemic, this is the way things have gone for nearly a year now.
“This has been an extremely difficult year, very different from year’s past,” 100 Black Men President Roger Givens said. “We’ve tried to do the things we’ve been doing – we’ve just had to adjust.”
For 12 years now, the 100 Black Men of Grenada has continued mentoring young men and providing area teenagers with resources to attend college and prepare for the workforce.
A lot of the ways that members have reached the youth has been altered due to COVID-19 safety measures, but according to Givens the community played a major role in that process.
“Some of our biggest events had to be canceled due to the pandemic,” Givens said. “We didn’t have our annual scholarship gala, which is our major social event. The annual golf tournament was called off and we couldn’t take our mentees to the educational trips to the historical museums and college trips.”
Still, Givens said local sponsors delivered last year with financial donations, which allowed 100 Black Men to give 11 scholarships to 2020 graduating seniors.
“It’s plain and simple, the major donors stepped up when we needed them most,” Givens said. “We didn’t have to ask them; they just came through. Even though there was no gala this year to thank them publicly, they helped us with the scholarships and that was the key. For that we thank them all.”
In June 2008, 100 Black Men of Grenada, Inc., received its charter. Since they have sponsored and supported several programs for ICS Head Start, partnered with Grenada Elementary School by implementing their Eagles program, one of their mentoring programs that aimed at improving student behavior, academics and attendance.
The 100 Black Men have an ongoing partnership with the Finch-Henry Job Corps Center in Batesville where they refer youth to attend, provide mentoring, speaking, financial resources for personal needs and book scholarships to Job Corps graduates going to college.
The 100 Black Men of Grenada has also become a well-known chapter nationally, and sends representatives to the National Convention every year.
“We couldn’t do that this year, everything was done virtually,” Givens said. “Still we’re monitoring the pandemic very closely with our youth being our main focus.
Givens said he hopes that the pandemic will be slowed to give the opportunity to have one-on-one exposure with their mentee to continue their growth.
“Hopefully we can get the ball rolling by Black History Month and continue on the workforce readiness and collegiate training,” Givens said.
Givens said he prays that students can get through the 2021 school year successfully and for them to continue mentoring them.
For a successful year the 100 Black Men of Grenada thanks the following sponsors:
Platinum: Carpenter Management and Walmart Grenada.
Silver: Advance Distributor Products, Dr. and Mrs. Cannon Seibel, Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Holden, Modine, Regions Bank, Resolute Forest Products and University of Mississippi Medical Center Grenada.
Bronze: Finch-Henry Job Corps Center, Guaranty Bank and EMI Staffing.
Friends: Bank Plus, BancorpSouth, First Security Bank and Grenada Baptist District Men’s.