Friday, October 10, 2014 (New York City): Over the last few months, the world has watched a community, Ferguson, MO become engulfed in sorrow, anger, fear and at times violent conflict as a result of the shooting of an unarmed black teenager.

One of mentoring USA’s core areas of focus in our local and national programming has been on working diligently to provide access and opportunity to young men of color in New York City through a partnership with the NYC Young Men’s Initiative (YMI), and with faith-based, peer and male mentor engagement in Newark, Philadelphia and Chicago funded by the Open Society Foundation’s Campaign for Black Male Achievement.

Ferguson exposed an array of difficult issues that communities across our country must still resolve. While mentoring is not a panacea to solve the multi-layered, systemic problems–poverty, human rights, education inequality, and cultural fear–that surfaced as a result of the tragic exchange in MO, it can, however, serve as a platform for ways in which we can continue the necessary dialogue needed to heal and empower our communities and our nation.

Through Mentoring, volunteers of all races, classes and creeds can join together to participate in family strengthening, financial education, career development, social justice, conflict resolution, diversity and inclusion activities.

In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. entitled his final manuscript “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?” As we begin the new school year, Dr. King’s legacy and final manuscript is a reminder to us all that we have critical choices to make in order to strengthen our nation.

Chaos or Community?

We choose community; for all our children and families dreaming of a brighter and better future, we now have a responsibility to come together to create pathways of success for our children and families.

As we begin the 2014-2015 program year, we extend an open invitation for you to join Mentoring USA’s community of supporters, partners and volunteers with a challenge to invest in the change you want to see in the world.

Change a Life, Become a Mentor.

For more information on MUSA activities for young men of color click here.