Platinum Minds Helps Boys Become Leaders in Their Communities
As a part of our "Newark at a Crossroads" series, taped at NJIT, Yvette Long, Executive Director of Platinum Minds, discusses how her organization is investing its resources to assist academically motivated boys so they can develop leadership skills and be positive role models in their communities.
"We are pleased to be joined by Yvette Long, who is executive director of an organization called Platinum Minds. How you doing? I'm dong great. What is Platinum Minds? Platinum Minds is a leadership development organization for boys. We work with boys in urban communities, helping them develop leadership skills, giving them educational resources, and helping them be successful as they go through high school and on to college. Why did you start this? I just read an article, you know, in 2006, about the number of boys that were being killed on our streets and thought that, you know, I could, maybe there was something that I could do, use... looking at my talent, some of my skill sets, and decided that, you know, I can do something. Because this is horrible. And I didn't feel that, as a mother, myself, that all the mothers were just suffering, losing their children, and all the talent that we're losing in our society with these young boys losing their lives at such early ages, that it wasn't what, really what I felt that what God wanted for our nation, and for our world, for us to sit back and watch this happen, so... Your background, before you started this, describe it. My background is a teacher, also guidance counseling. And prior to that, I was a model most of my life. So most of my life I was a model, and before I founded this organization, I was a stay at home mom with my two girls, and just thought that, you know, looking at that background, that there was something that, and I heard this voice saying "Yvette, you know, you can make a difference, you can do something." And, you know, I talked to my pastor about it, and I said, you know, "Why do I hear this voice?" And he says, "You know Yvette? We're all called to do things, but we don't always listen." Hmm. And I felt that, you know, I had to listen to that voice to really take some action. Describe some of the programs and initiatives that you're involved in that make a difference. Well, I was just, you know, putting together a report looking at some of the things... We're facing our tenth anniversary. Congratulations. Which is very exciting. Yeah, it's very exciting. And it's hard to believe. And after we've, you know, been here for ten years. But putting together a report about that, I realized that we've helped about a hundred boys in our program. And boys start in our program when they're 11 years old, and we help them right through middle school, and then they stay with us until they graduate high school..."