The statistics are alarming when it comes to number of black men who drop out of high school. Studies show only 41 percent of African American men in the U.S. graduated from high school in 2001 and 2002 within five years of entering high school. But the Rockford Black Star Project student motivation program is aiming to change those figures by educating kids at an early age.
"The drop ratio is very high, teen pregnancy is very high, the reading levels are very low. So with this type of session we are bringing in professionals and showing the students what they can be through education." says Stuart Scott organizer of the Black Star Project Motivation Program.
The black star project motivation program is the largest classroom based mentor program in the U.S. They have spoken to more than 72,000 middle and high school students nationwide including right here in Rockford.
"We bring our motivators in to inspire them to stay in school, to encourage them toward healthy lifestyles, to help them make viable life plans and pretty much motivate them to become better people into the community," says Scott.
Thursday's motivators included speakers from the Winnebago County Sheriff's, and Health Department. Many came and with their own personal stories of struggles and triumphs to influence kids to stay on the right path.
"I feel like because I have lived that life of doing bad things, I feel like I'm an example of what can happen when a person changes their lives for the good and give their life to God," says Wayne Fricks, reach out jail ministry youth chaplain for Winnebago County.
This program serves all ethnic, racial and faith backgrounds.