A group of male seniors at King have come together in a positive way to help inspire and mentor middle school boys and break the negative cycles that plague inner-city youth. These eight seniors in Making A Difference (M.A.D.) are Don Barnes, Desjuan Davis, Desmond Foster-Carter, Jamal Hairston, Kamari McHenry, Lorenzo Scott, DeMarcus Taylor and Jalin Willis.
“We want to give middle schoolers something they never had which is a male mentor,” said Taylor.
Even though the members of M.A.D. are still teenagers themselves, they have seen and experienced life and want to give options to the youth.
“I’m really tired of seeing young males thinking with the mind set of being or leading to a drug dealing way, fighting, violence and exposing women,” said Scott. "I want to change that mind set.”
Before M.A.D. could begin, they had to get an approval from Interim Superintendent Alycia Meriweather. Within a week, Meriweather was at King to listen to the group pitch their ideas.
“I think it’s an excellent idea,” said Meriweather. “I was totally impressed with their desire to help the next generation.”
The initiation of the group started with a conversation between two of its members and took off from that point. Quickly, other male Crusaders wanted to help middle school boys and give them some necessary tools for success in life and high school.
“I didn’t grow up with a father or someone older than me to look up to, so it makes me feel like I can give someone else the chance I never got,” said Willis.
The first middle school M.A.D. visited was Blackwell Middle School on the eastside of Detroit.
“We went to Blackwell and we got to meet sixth, seventh, and eighth graders,” said Foster-Carter.
“Most of them came up to us before we left. They can’t wait to get started,” said McHenry.
This particular organization plans to expand to as many schools as possible in order to make a huge difference in the lives of young males.
“In our group sessions we’ve established a brotherhood or some form of trust that you would give your brother,” said Foster-Carter.
With the right leadership and commitment, great results can occur for everyone involved.
“If we can get some of them to change, I feel like we can change the world,” said Hairston.