Like many Black boys growing up in Cincinnati, Wesley Gallaher had dreams of becoming a star basketball player. However, soon after he entered the University of Cincinnati, he was contacted by members of a group called the Hearts and Minds Pipeline Program, which has teamed up with Mercy Health to provide minority students with exposure to medical professions.
Favors worked closely with Gallaher, encouraging him to enter the medical field. Gallaher said, “A medical career was never in our scope growing up. It was never about being a doctor or engineer. It was all about being the next LeBron.”
In a study of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program published in Sage Journal, researchers Jean Grossman and Joseph Tierney stated: “Over the 18-month follow-up period, youths participating in Big Brothers Big Sisters Programs were significantly less likely to have started using illegal drugs or alcohol, hit someone, or skipped school. They were also more confident about their school performance and got along better with their families” (Grossman and Tierney 1998).
Other studies have turned up similar results. For example, Yolanda Barbier Gibson writes in the Journal of Mason Graduate Research
At its best, mentoring redirects the focus from sports, music, and video games, giving Black boys support for intellectual pursuit they often lack at home or among their peers.
Do you think that providing Black boys with mentors will help them diversify their career options, as opposed to blindly choosing sports or entertainment?