Monday, February 21, 2011

Mentor Program Aims to Prevent Violence

The Black Political Empowerment Project’s Coalition Against Violence and Carnegie Mellon University will partner to have CMU athletes mentor local high school students.

B-PEP Community Liaison Kenneth Huston says his “Five for Five” initiative will pair up students from five local school districts with CMU basketball players in an effort to prevent violence.

Huston says the students, who hail from West Mifflin, Gateway, Brashear, Clayton Academy and Pittsburgh Public Schools, will be able to communicate better with mentors closer to their own age. He says in addition to attending basketball games, the pairs will talk about college life and attend summits involving regional businesses and nonprofits.

Huston says he was inspired to create the program after giving an anti-violence speech at a local high school.

“Young people that walked up to me said, ‘Mr. Huston, all that is well and good, but we’re always being talked at, and we’re not being talked to, and we’re not getting a chance to voice our concerns.’ And so I thought about that long and hard and said, ‘How can we come up with a way to give these young people a chance to really voice their feelings?’” says Huston.

The result is the Five for Five program, which Huston says stands as a challenge for other local universities to take part in.

Five for Five’s first mentoring event was February 20, when the CMU men’s and women’s basketball teams played Emory University.

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