Grooming tomorrow’s men

Leslie D. Rose @DvilleNewsie
Lowery Elementary fifth grade boys stand to repeat affirmations read by the YMOC mentors.

     Each month, the mentoring group, Young Men of Character (YMOC), meets at Lowery Elementary to hear from men who are meant to encourage the boys.

     The older men come dressed in suits, and the boys are to wear shirts and ties – it is the one day out of the month that they are not bound to school uniforms. The goal of YMOC is to provide the students with life skills, teamwork, leadership, hope and optimism, while placing an emphasis on completing school and entering the workforce, trade school or college.

     At the monthly meeting, held March 9, the boys heard from guest speakers who included Hall Davis, IV of Heavenly Gates Cemetery, and BASF Corp. production manager, Mark Hughes, along with project engineer, Aaron Crockett.

     Davis spoke to the students about becoming a business owner, joining extracurricular activities while in school, and gave a lesson about agriculture-domesticated animals.

     The BASF spokesmen spoke about their roles at BASF. Crockett explained what his day to day looks like and his road to becoming an engineer.

     “I remember sitting in your seats some years ago – I was in 4-H Club, Beta Club, any clubs that they had – anything that was helping to develop me into the man I am today,” Crockett said.

     “I want to commend you for stepping up and doing something like this, and I want to encourage you to just keep doing what you’re doing – give it a 100 percent every single day and the sky is the limit – it starts here – it starts right now.”

     YMOC will be taking a field trip to BASF in Geismar on April 14. YMOC co-founder, Timothy Riley explained that the purpose of the field trip is to introduce the boys to the chemical industry that surrounds them in Ascension Parish, while still encouraging the purpose of YMOC, as explained by co-founder, Renard Southall.

     “The YMOC role is to reflect on the virtues necessary to be a virtuous young man,” Southall said. “This group seeks to create real, manly character in the souls of the young, and does so by examining, point-by-point, each aspect necessary to the development of that character.

     Far from something belonging to another century or generation – this insightful work has perhaps never been more needed than in our own age, when manly virtue is attacked, and true chivalry is scorned.”

     According to the mentors, the mission of YMOC is to build young men of character with a personal knowledge derived from participation and observation through a mentoring program to guide them into adulthood. Volunteers help the elementary age boys in challenging environments to dream and to achieve their goals with respect, dignity and encouragement.