Future Young Leaders
100 Black Men of London Annual Community Mentoring Programme Graduation Ceremony 2012
Saturday 21st July 2012
“What they see, is what they will be!”
Nelson Hayden Lecture Theatre, London South Bank University
The Future for young black people is looking good. A full house of over 200 people gathered at the London South Bank University’s beautiful Nelson Hayden Lecture Theatre on Saturday 21st July 2012 for the 100 Black Men of London’s 10th Annual Community Mentoring Programme Graduation Ceremony.
The ceremony was viewed by many, including, President Olu Alake, presiding over his final Graduation Ceremony – he decided to step down at the end of last year – “as our best ever.” I couldn’t agree more. The Ceremony was a fine tribute to the graduating Diamonds (what the 100BMOL calls its mentees), Parents and the 100BMOL. I found it to be tremendously vibrant, inspirational, funny and moving, not to mention very professionally put together.
In attendance were members, volunteers, current and former Diamonds, friends and family to support the young graduating Diamonds and Parents there to receive certificates and various prizes for Diamond of the Year and Most Improved Diamond of the year for the three London regions in which the 100 Black Men hold their mentoring programmes, as well as Parent Partner of the Year. Also present were VIPs, including Chairman of 100 Black Men International, Al Dotson, who’d flown in from Miami just for the Ceremony and returned the next morning. Honorary Member (2006) Professor Gus John and Irene Forrester, who plays Rafiki in the West End hit musical, ‘The Lion King,’ also attended and delivered keynote speeches.
Professor Gus John, 100BMOL International Chairman Al Dotsun and President Olu Alake
One of the first speakers was Mark Dunwell, one of the 100’s first cohort of Diamonds back in 2001 and the first Diamond of the year in 2002. He was a guest speaker at last year’s 10th Anniversary Graduation Ceremony. Then a Masters student at Manchester University, it was tremendous to hear that he has now graduated and is employed as a Consultant at leading accountancy firm Price Waterhouse Cooper (Pwc).
To the listening Diamonds he emphasised the importance of having a plan and following a determined path to achieve your goals. The motto of the 100’s Community Mentoring Programme is “What they see is what they’ll be.” Seeing this fine young man of 22, a former graduate of the programme, speaking in front of the current cohort of graduating youngsters could only have been highly inspirational and positive. A real example of one of their peers going on to achieve realistic goals.
This was a message emphasised by young Diamond, Vanes Creavalle, 10, who graduated from Bronze to Silver, who spoke loudly and clearly, demonstrating the ‘effective expression’ taught on the programme.
Proceedings were broken up by the wonderful African dance and drumming troupe Blema Cultural Troupe, from North London.
Parents in Partnership
Parent Angela Harris and her partner Ricardo Morris (pictured below) spoke about the benefits they gained from the Parents in Partnership (PiP) Programme. She got involved to feel more engaged with what was going on at the mentoring programme. In order to provide a forum for parents to discuss and share information on how to reinforce the learning of the mentoring programme, 100BMOL set up the Parents in Partnership support programme in 2010.
26th Annual conference, Atlanta, July 2012
Eron Dottin-Wilson and Khadijah Peace-Watkis Lewis
Four of the London Diamonds attended this year’s 100 Black Men International annual conference. These graduates of our Youth Leadership Academy (YLA) and Peer Mentoring Programme, Cameron Douglas, Eron Dottin-Wilson and Khadijah Peace – Watkis Lewis, Peer Mentor of the year 2011, gave a PowerPoint presentation of their experiences at the conference and indeed as part of the inaugural International Student Exchange programme we were a part of with our DeKalb Atlanta chapter brothers.
Higher expectations required of our youths – Professor Gus John
Honorary Member, Professor Gus John, addressed the audience, especially to “…congratulate the mentors of our potential future leaders, politicians and heads of functional families present here today.”
He called on everyone present to have higher expectations of our youths so that they can be role models and exemplars in the community. He praised the work the 100 BMOL do and urged everyone to support them in their future efforts.
Melanie Dottin, a parent of one of the mentees addressed the audience to particularly praise the commitment of the Diamonds, Parents and Mentors by defining “commitment is doing the thing you said you would do, long after the mood you were in when you said it has left you.” She ended with an inspirational quote from Marcus Garvey: “Surround yourself with success.”
The Lion King
Irene Forrester (pictured above), who plays Rafiki in the West End musical ‘The Lion King’, attended, despite being unwell. She spoke passionately and inspirationally directly to the young people. “Nothing is impossible. All things are possible if you believe.
Make sure you study and be the best you can be. You are here because you are diamonds. You have dreams and ambitions. You will inspire others because you are being inspired by the 100.”
In closing, Chairman Al Dotson, pictured below, praised the 100 Black men of London and its innovative programmes. “One of the most important things we do with our programmes is create future leaders. I see and know what’s going on in all of our chapters. I want to replicate what you do here across all of our 118 global chapters.”
All in all, this was an exceptional graduation ceremony, inspiring to this author as well as all of the youths and adults alike in attendance.
The next Community Mentoring Programme starts in November 2012. If you have children who’d benefit from being mentored, or parents, who need a supportive group environment or if you wish to give something back to the community and become a Member or Volunteer yourself, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com respectively.
100 Black Men of London Graduation Ceremony Award Winners 2012
Liam Joseph Beckles – Most Improved Diamond of the year 2012 North London
Selah Blackman – Most Improved Diamond of the Year – East London.
Miss Morgan Douglas – Most Improved Diamond of the Year – South London (All the above won flip cameras Sponsored by Cisco Black Employee Network)
Mr Nickelle Morris – Diamond of the Year North London (sponsored by Val Ohagwa of Notting Hill Housing Association);
Miss Reann Blain – Diamond of the Year East London (sponsored by Rhythm Kitchen Restaurant, Stratford)
Mr Khari Bedward-McCaulsky – Diamond of the Year South London (sponsored by Maame-Yaa-Bempah from Notting Hill Housing Association)
These Diamonds of the year all won brand new kindles!
Outstanding leader of Tomorrow sponsored by Bevis Gooden and Cisco Black Employee Network was awarded to Eron Dottin-Wilson who received a Kindle and flip camera, and Miss Lauren Coppin-Campbell won the 2012 Youth of the Year, and was presented with a brand new I-pad and router sponsored by Cisco Black Employee Network. Cisco also provided shadowing work experience opportunities for award winners.
Other awards went to Chuma Kokayi as PiP Facilitator of the Year and Richard Rees as Mentor of the Year.
President Olu Alake and Mentor of the Year 2012 Richard Rees
Five new members received their 100 pin and were sworn in along with seven new female volunteers, all pledging their commitment to the 100 Black Men of London.
Newly pinned Members
Newly appointed Volunteers
100BMOL thank all their sponsors for their generosity, especially London South Bank University, Notting Hill Housing Association, BBC Children in need, and Tesco (Kennington) who donated and delivered all of the refreshments. If any firm or individual would like to sponsor future awards, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Review © Tiemo Talk of the Town
Photographs © Dunstan Creavalle Photos
25th July 2012