» black males /site Tue, 12 Mar 2013 17:28:11 +0000 en hourly 1 CALLING ALL S.O.L.D.I.E.R.S.!!! /site/2009/07/soldiersclub/ /site/2009/07/soldiersclub/#comments Fri, 10 Jul 2009 06:36:21 +0000 Admin /site/?p=195 THE S.O.L.D.I.E.R.S. CLUB is a high school male leadership and mentoring program developed by Mrs. Burney to decrease the student drop out rate; decrease youth violence and empower male students to unleash their inner greatness through literacy and leadership development. The program is currently active at three  high schools in Jacksonville, FL.  The S.O.L.D.I.E.R.S. club empowers young men with strategies that build and reinforce academic excellence, self confidence and community service.

Administrators of the New Town Success Zone Initiative, JCC’s Family Involvement (FI) staff members, recently engaged and interviewed approximately 500 New Town residents. They were  assisted by 10 William M. Raines High School students, also known as SOLDIERS. The SOLDIERS were inspired by Duval County School Board Member Betty Burney, District 5, to serve as leaders on their school campus and within their surrounding community.

Interviews and focus groups with New Town residents are designed to learn more about the needs of families. FI staff members were  paired with Raines SOLDIERS. They were charged with talking with residents at their homes, visit barber/ beauty shops, and go to places of worship.

Following the community engagement process, JCC will worked with other funding organizations and non-profit providers to intentionally link services that insulate families living in the New Town neighborhood (i.e., Census Tract 28.02). Services are offered to families from the time a child is conceived until they complete college and/or enter the workforce.

If you are interested signing up a young male age 14-18 that is currently enrolled in high school and on the verge of failing or at-risk of drop out, please complete the form below and one of our representatives will be in contact with you.



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JAIL TALES: AIM TO HELP READERS GET INVOLVED /site/2009/07/jail-tales/ /site/2009/07/jail-tales/#comments Sat, 04 Jul 2009 05:48:56 +0000 Admin /site/?p=179 Published Wednesday, November 2, 2005 |  By Tonya Weathersbee


Three years ago, Betty Seabrook Burney took on the job of finding mentors for jailed juveniles.


But one day, Burney realized they needed more than mentors to guide them. They needed their voices to be heard — and understood.


“I was at court one day, and this kid was trying to get his point across to the [assistant] state attorney,” said Burney. “But he couldn’t express himself well… all the while, the chains he had on were clanging.”


That gave Burney, now a member of the Duval County School Board, the idea to find a way for more of the troubled youths to express how they allowed criminal behavior to stunt their progress before their lives even got off to a real start. She did that by visiting them in the Duval County jail and chronicling their stories in a self-published book titled If These Chains Could Talk.

The book is a compilation of stories from teenage felons discussing the conditions and attitudes that contributed to their drift toward criminality. It also includes their advice to youths, parents and others, and space for readers to write down ideas to deal with the problem.

Full story – If These Chains Could Talk


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THE SOCIAL STATUS OF BLACK MEN AND WOMEN /site/2009/07/the-social-status-of-black-men-and-women/ /site/2009/07/the-social-status-of-black-men-and-women/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2009 02:36:39 +0000 Admin /site/?p=32 The pipeline begins at birth. All children need to be raised in enriching, nurturing, healthful, and cognitively stimulating environments from birth in order for them to develop to their maximum potential. Investing in quality ECE for young black male children will help to ensure that they enter the pipeline to higher education and the work force.

February 11, 2008

Dr. Billy Close, Chair
Florida Council on the Social Status of Black Men & Boys
Bureau of Criminal Justice Programs
Office of the Attorney General
PL-01 The Capitol
Tallahassee, FL  32399-1050

Dear Dr. Close:

I’m so glad that Betty Burney, author of the book, “If These Chains Could Talk,” decided to give voice to the harsh realities young men face when choosing to engage in criminal behavior. Last week, I had the opportunity to read the book. I wish that I could say that I picked it up out of interest or because I was using it for research. No. I read the book because my 14-year-old son was given it by his school’s Hearing Officer after being suspended from school and sent to an alternative school for 45 days.

I am the father of six school-aged children and I can tell you that I have relied on many people, experiences, and organizations to help me teach my children the importance of education and good behavior. But very few things have moved me the way Mrs. Burney’s book has. In the most realistic manner, the book highlighted the harsh realities children face when choosing to engage in criminal behavior. It also offered some straight-forward, “off-the-chain” advice for parents that spoke directly to me about things I failed to realize and understand. There is no job that is more important (or more difficult) than providing my children with the tools and the opportunities they need to be successful citizens.

It is my understanding that the Florida Council on the Social Status of Black Men & Boys is an organization that is striving to help communities improve the conditions for Black men and boys. As a Black man who works every day to ensure that I serve as a positive role model to my children, I can tell you that your work in “promoting an environment that is conducive to productivity, success, and excellence for Black men and boys throughout the state” is very important. Like me, you will also benefit from many of the lessons the young men offered in the book, If These Chains Could Talk. Please read the book and share it with the persons you strive to reach each day. You won’t be sorry; I sure wasn’t.


Ronald B. Hobbs

(904) 607-8465


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