Radio and television host Steve Harvey’s foundation hosted a special mentoring program for boys this weekend at Chicago State University.
The Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend assembled for three days where 100 young men age 13 to 19 who hail from female-headed single-family homes were at the center of attention.
The packed weekend agenda engaged the boys on topics that spanned from social, educational and professional empowerment and accountability. The program also touched on how to deal with the opposite sex, etiquette and fashion and each young man received a one-on-one session with Harvey. It was all in the hopes of providing guidance to the boys and empowering them with principles of manhood and encouraging them to not only dream but act to on it, according to organizers.
Harvey promised the boys’ mothers that they would see “changed” young men.
“All we do with these weekends is…create a moment where a boy gets to stop on his way to manhood and say ‘wow, this is what manhood really is?’ And maybe they find out they need to make some adjustments — and that can be very life changing,” Harvey told the Chicago Citizen.
The comedian that he is, Harvey injected humor in some of his interactions with the boys. His frankness — and bit of profanity — was as much an effort to keep things realistic for the young men as it was just Steve Harvey style, he explained.
Steve Harvey has become a household name, literally, with a syndicated morning radio show, an afternoon talk show and as host of the “Family Feud” television game show. He is also a bestselling author of the book Act Like a Lady Think Like a Man which was made into a big screen movie blockbuster.
But for all of his media presence, Harvey said it’s important for him to reach out to young men who don’t have positive male role models in their lives.
Trevoy Johnson, 19, attended this year’s event as a junior counselor. He first took part in the mentoring program last year and it had a “tremendous” impact on his life. He had been depressed and estranged from his father ever since his parents divorced. The Columbia College music major said he also had a number of interpersonal issues that dogged him.
“After this camp, I have been accepting myself more and more by the day,” he said.
Homewood-Flossmoor senior Richard Foster-Shelton said the weekend program “reinforced” some of the principles of manhood that he was already aware of and also taught him a few etiquette rules he said he’ll never forget. The 17-year-old former Chicago South Sider told the Chicago Citizen that his father is involved in his life “sparingly.”
“Most Black men want to be good. They don’t want to end up in jail or dead,” the college-bound, aspiring sports journalist said. He added that the weekend event inspired him to continue on a positive path.
Rev. Corey Brooks was one of the speakers on closing day. He made headlines last year when camped out on the rooftop of an abandoned building he called an eyesore and crime haven in his New Beginnings Church community. Then he embarked on a cross-country walk to raise money for a multi-million dollar community center to be built in Woodlawn.
He told the boys that they are “more than what society says.”
Brooks said that mentoring programs like Harvey’s are a godsend to the boys.
“For a lot of these boys they don’t have fathers nor do they have positive Black role models in their lives so…mentoring is only going to help them in their life to make better decisions, to make better choices. It’s imperative that we have not just Steve Harvey’s mentoring program but that we have mentoring programs all across the country,” said Brooks.
On Saturday, the Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation — which hosted the weekend — passed out 1,000 Thanksgiving turkeys.
By Rhonda Gillespie