Being a mother of young boys can often present itself with challenges. You constantly see and hear reminders from society expressing how in their opinion a mother can’t raise her son to be a man. It becomes detrimental to find your kings positive role models to aid in the molding of their character. Most think moving abroad would make this even more of a challenge. Thanks to brothers like Jahmeer Reynolds and his mentors at I-Promise, young expats and their mothers have men to turn.
What follows is an article written by guest columnist and contributor, Jahmeer Reynolds
Why did you create I-Promise?
I woke up in the projects every morning, never expecting to hear my father’s voice or even see him when he left for work. However, this was my “normal”. I had my grandmother and was content with the love she showed but deep down I knew something was missing.
As I grew up, I started looking up to and emulating the hustlers in my neighborhood. It was them who would asked me how school was, if I needed anything and if trouble was coming my way? They’d tell me to head home.
At the time I didn’t know I was being mentored but I knew it felt good to have someone who looked like me to care about me. My father grew up without an active father and being a teenager when I was born, he tried his best with what he knew. We would spend some weekends together until his vices got the best of him.
I thought that was all I needed but I wanted more. I deserved more and so do other young men in the community who’ve similar life experiences as my own. Starting I-Promise in the UAE and it’s instant success is a testament to the need for programs like mine globally. We have it within our power to overcome barriers to equal opportunities, whether we reside in the US or abroad.
These boys quite often face obstacles in our society and inaccurate depictions in the media. These issues can in turn affect self-perceptions and lead to thoughts of reduced life value and low self esteem. Connecting with their peers who are facing similar challenges as well as adults who understand their particular needs and issues would be very beneficial.
A community where young men feel supported, respected and valued is vital. The I-Promise mentoring program serves this purpose. We are a community of men who look like them but are also educators, professionals, husbands, fathers and business men. Building positive relationships with such men can encourage a child to overcome these difficulties and develop a sense of belonging. We have a heart for mentorship and supporting young men as they define their future dreams and aspirations.
The I-Promise program is an organization that provides mentoring services to expat young men in the UAE between the ages 10-17. The services include Financial Literacy, Entrepreneurship, Creative activities such photojournalism, Healthy Living, Social Interaction,Lifestyle coaching and Etiquette.If you would like find out more about the I-Promise Program you can email Jahmeer Reynolds ( firstname.lastname@example.org)