Close

December 2, 2019

My Passion for the Young Black Male

Over the past few years I have worked silently with various groups of teen boys.  As a matter of interest – all black! ALL of them have some kind of label associated with a wrong path – and truth be told, many have pending court appearances 🙁 I have enjoyed every interaction and I have never had a bad experience with any of them. In fact if they see me on the street they do something that most teens boys just don’t do. They holler out my name to make sure I see them and if we are passing by each other they give me a hug….and I hug them back.  These are young men who I don’t know much about – other than their name – and if I can’t call the name I definitely know the face.
 
Recently I have been working with a specific bunch of teens labeled “at risk” – I hate that phrase. We are all at risk for a whole slew of things. Some of these young men have had the most phenomenal experience coming to the prison and having heart to heart discussions with our incarcerated men. CHANGE is noted in these youngsters!!
 
WHY HAVE I BEEN DOING THIS?? Because for the 17 years that I have been running the Etiquette Class for Girls, I have become increasingly concerned about the direction many of our young men are taking and while I do believe that there are some phenomenal men in our community who CAN make a huge difference – and many that I know personally – I don’t believe there are enough. And there are far too many men and absent fathers who are doing little to nothing. Additionally I have teamed up with other phenomenal women overseas who are running dynamic programs for young men and also making a great impact.
 
IT’S TIME I TAKE THE NEXT STEP!
 
Today confirmed that I am making the right decision. As I was walking through town a bus full of students went by. I heard a male’s voice holler through the bus window: “MS SOMNERRRRRR!” I looked and I recognized the face. It was the young man who recently said to me, “I can’t believe I sat there and listened to you talk for an hour! I haven’t sat this still to listen to anybody that long ever – even to my teachers!” (His teachers confirmed this is true). I stopped and waved as the bus was coming to a stop at the traffic light. He continued shouting through the window: “WHEN ARE YOU COMING BACK BECAUSE I NEED YOU IN 2020. I HAVE GOALS!
OMG I wanted to run through the traffic and hop on that bus and hug him. THIS is a black male, approximately 15 years old, who is identified as “at risk”. I promised him he would see me again soon – and he will. 
 
Adults who have seen me in action with these groups tell me how awesome they believe. I humbly shrug because for me it’s nothing more than that which I love doing! It’s my calling. I am committed to making sure our young men pursue their dreams.  I am also aware that negativity will come.  How dare a female work with young men – that’s a man’s job! Hmmmm….ok…. But most importantly I am motivated by those who emit positive vibes and encouragement.  Stay tuned. I have to go beyond speaking to groups and sitting on panels.  The next step is coming…..

18 Comments on “My Passion for the Young Black Male

Syreeta Powell
December 2, 2019 at 8:59 pm

Lovely and can’t wait!! Definitely your calling.

Reply
Carl V.
December 2, 2019 at 9:12 pm

Absolutely awesome Shawnette, yes follow your calling, because you’re changing lives.
Reminds me of a poem a friend gave to me many years ago.
“All it took was to say hello to someone you didn’t even know”

It’s more stanzas but the old brain can’t recall right now.🙂
One hello, my friend.

Reply
Glenda Carlington
December 2, 2019 at 9:33 pm

Awesome sis! You are a phenomenal educator and I’m sooo proud of you for the impact that you are having on our young people. Praying that God will give you the strength to continue doing your passion. Bless you sis 🙏🏾✝️💐🤗🥰🎶

Reply
Takia Lamb
December 2, 2019 at 10:27 pm

Can’t wait to hear more stories!

Reply
Shawnette Somner
December 2, 2019 at 10:50 pm

Thanks my Talented Techy!

Reply
Stephanie Symonds
December 2, 2019 at 10:30 pm

Yesssss I am Team Somner!!!! Go for it, as I am working on doing the same thing out here in the states. We can no longer waste time with generations coming up. Too much lost time and if we don’t take a hold of them now our world will be lost. We need to build a new stance of generational leaders and they are within our youth. They have the courage and bravery and we need to grasp that and cultivate them to MORE!

Reply
Shawnette Somner
December 2, 2019 at 10:49 pm

AMEN, STEPHANIE!! I wish you well in your endeavors as well.

Reply
Shervona Pacheco
December 2, 2019 at 10:42 pm

Awesome reading this with a tear in my eye
Sometimes that’s all that these young people need is to be able to talk to someone or even is listening to them makes a big difference. you are doing great and I applaud you for being able to make a difference in their life
I look forward to heating more about your next steps

Reply
Shawnette Somner
December 2, 2019 at 10:48 pm

Thank you, Shervona. A few minutes of time to just TALK with them makes a huge difference.

Reply
Olney Bean
December 2, 2019 at 10:50 pm

Continue to follow your aspirations and your dreams. It WILL make a difference- one
person at a time. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 🙏🏿🙏🏿

Reply
Shawnette Somner
December 2, 2019 at 10:52 pm

Thank you, Mom. You instilled much of what I give! ((hugs))

Reply
Patrick Seymour
December 3, 2019 at 5:03 pm

The proof is in the pudding. How do we know if we are being effective? If those which you are seeking to engage are responding positively. The part about the young man on the bus speaks volumes! On behalf of JesusFollowr University we are looking forward to coming along side you in 2020 & co laboring with you in this wonderful endeavor. God bless

Reply
Shawnette Somner
December 3, 2019 at 5:06 pm

Patrick, I don’t believe our meeting was by accident but rather for an opportunity to meet to collaborate. I am in awe at your story and am proud of you having “risen from the proverbial ashes”. Thanks for your feedback.

Reply
Betty Azzario
December 4, 2019 at 8:24 am

I had to wait to.comment , as there were several discussions going on.
There is a much needed programme that needs to be put in place ASAP .
I was fortunate that my Son had incredible male Role models, Omar Pennyman, Wayne Caines, several REGIMENT officers, who looked our for him and helped him network. He is now very purpose driven.
I am grateful. I would love to see a programme start, to help our boys heal.

Reply
Shawnette Somner
December 4, 2019 at 7:55 pm

Likewise, I had to find strong men in the community to work alongside my sons as well. It makes a huge difference.

Reply
Cynthia
December 4, 2019 at 3:37 pm

Wonderful and truly inspiring!! You are fulfilling the “Each One Teach One“ mantra!! Thank You for serving the young black men in community!! We are all a stones throw away from making a bad choice! Your influence will help them make better choices. KUDOS to You!!

Reply
Cynthia Heath
December 4, 2019 at 3:38 pm

Shawnette- This is Wonderful and truly inspiring!! You are fulfilling the “Each One Teach One“ mantra!! Thank You for serving the young black men in community!! We are all a stone’s throw away from making a bad choice! Your influence will help them make better choices. KUDOS to You!!

Reply
Shawnette Somner
December 4, 2019 at 7:54 pm

Absolutely…we are! Thank you!

Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *