COLUMBUS (WCMH) — On a sultry Wednesday morning at The Ohio State University’s Fawcett Center, men and women came from around Ohio with one goal in mind. They wanted to learn from each other in order to unite the group My Brother’s Keeper.
The goal involved sharing ideas and implement evidence-based strategies and create plans of action for racial equity in local communities throughout the state.
One of the attendees was Chaz Amos from Thurgood Marshall High School, in Dayton, Ohio. He got involved with the group at age 11 when he flew out to Oakland, Ca. and got to meet President Barack Obama. He has attended meetings and learned from mentors.
“The majority of my friends are incarcerated or deceased, unfortunately, because some of their choices,” Amos said matter of factly when talking about his childhood. “I think about that and want to steer youth now in the other direction so they don’t have to experience that.”
The 17-year-old came up with a plan to approach his school’s superintendent to have 15 seniors at his school become mentors to incoming freshmen called “Youth of Our Future.”
“It’s a peer to peer mentoring program where seniors mentor freshmen with their transition from the eighth grade,” Amos explained.
Amos quickly learned that all plans are not perfect. The superintendent recommended a few changes to meet the district’s expectations.
“Regardless of the plan you have always expect change,” Amos said with a confident smile. “Everything worked out just fine.”
The group is not just any seniors. They are role models according to Amos. The group started the school year by walking up and introducing themselves to incoming freshmen. There was a bit of animosity on both parties at first.
“It helped changed that narrative of, ‘I’m a senior so I’m going to stay a senior,'” he said. “I’m a freshman so I’m going to be scared in my shell,’ It actually changed the narrative by actually going out and approaching the kids.”
Amos plans on attending college when he graduates and said he hopes to become the mayor of Dayton or even governor of Ohio.
“I think everybody has the right to have a mentor,” Amos said.