Caring, Community and Communications
By Barbara Perkins
The Los Angeles Cares Mentoring Movement http://www.lacmm.org/ began when a small number of community and organizational leaders responded favorably to the vision of Essence magazine founder Susan L. Taylor – to create a “National Cares” movement that infuses communities with caring adults committed to mentoring young people across the nation.
The Los Angeles movement began as a small group identified as the Launch Steering Committee and grew in a matter of weeks to a significant number of people representing more than 20 community-based organizations. The Steering Committee on January 19th announced to the Los Angeles community the formation of the Los Angeles Cares Mentoring Movement.
The L.A. Cares office is facilitating local efforts to recruit able adults to commit to four hours of mentoring time each month. The local office is staffed part-time and primarily focused on community wide events.
The Los Angeles office is organized as a chapter of National Cares Mentoring Movement (NCMM) and works in tandem with the broader campaign. At this point, 22 cities have been identified to be a part of this CARES National Movement. Currently, Cares offices Atlanta, Memphis, Los Angeles, New York Chicago and Miami are up and running. Northern California CARES will be launched in early June in partnership with the Observer newspaper.
The national office and headquarters is located in Atlanta and Chaired by Susan L. Taylor.
The mission of NCMM is to create a highly visible and effective national mentoring campaign designed to empower the African American community. We aim to bring guidance to L.A. youth by paring them with mentors provided by vetted organizations and volunteers from every industry and walk of life.
The goals of the Los Angeles CARES movement are to:
Increase the pool of African American mentors
Increase the high school graduation rate among African American students by 10% annually
Decrease the violence in African Americans in Los Angeles County.
My background is rooted in community advocacy having held various leadership roles in non-profit organizations and political organizations. My experience has been in facilitating leadership development workshops, teaching team building at Pacific Oaks College, and organizing workshops for The Los Angeles African American Women Public Policy Institute http://www.laaawppi.com/.
The local office has made good progress since our Jan. 19 launch. We have identified more than 200 individuals and groups committed to assisting us with the goals of LA CARES.
Many would argue that if your message does not get in the media then somehow it is not worthy of the attention and therefore, not worthy of support. There is a tradition called “public interest journalism” – news organizations crusading on behalf of communities – and we need the media to partner with us in community change.
Thus far, the coverage has been outstanding. The Los Angeles Cares Mentoring Movement was launched as part of the King Weekend activities. There were 3 major announcements including a press conference attended by the Los Angeles Sentinel, Our Weekly, The Pasadena Journal, The Wave, The Chronicle News and other media outlets.
Also, members of the local CARES steering committee joined Susan Taylor and Thomas Dortch, Jr, the National Co Chair of the CARES Movement, for radio interviews on the Jacque Stevens show on KJLH and the Niele Anderson show on V100 over the launch weekend. Each of these outlets extended an invitation for us to return to the shows with updates in the near future.