Dorothy Davis, director of operations, said people in the community are always asking “how do we stop the violence?”
Davis suggested one way would be by engaging with the community.
Davis said Black Star’s work with schools, parents and churches is helping the community stay involved.
The Black Star Project is recruiting 100 volunteers to mentor and support students in Chicago-area schools through its student motivation-mentoring program, which Davis said will help to engage the community.
“I’m really into building a positive climate and giving back to our youth,” said Yvonne Davis, 29, a tutor for The Black Star Project.
“Ninety Percent of African-American males are not reading proficiently by the 8th grade,” Davis said.
“They are passing the children along and they do not know how to read, and then we wonder why we have an issue with the gangs and they are not paying attention in school.”
One the project’s programs, Saturday University, is a comprehensive learning system designed to improve the academic performance and outcomes for Chicago students. Saturday University features math, reading and writing tutoring for elementary school students. The first session is offered to only boys and the second session is offered to both boys and girls.
Executive Director Phillip Jackson founded The Black Star Project and serves as a chairman of the board. “The Black Star Program has been around since 1996 and the vision is still the same, to help our youth,” he said.
Not only does The Black Star Project help educate the youth but it also helps parents.
“Parent University” encourages involvement and provides the resources, skills, and information necessary for parents to help ensure the proper education of their children.
At “Sunday University,” adults can attend training sessions to learn how to start their own businesses.
The Million Father March is one of the organization’s largest initiatives.
The Million Father March is a nationwide initiative that mobilizes fathers and male caregivers to take their children to school on the first day of school. One million fathers in over 550 cities participated in 2015 Million-Father March.
“We essentially offer these programs to boost those numbers, to help those children be confident in what they are doing in terms of reading, writing and math,” Davis said.
“We have had instances in our math boot camp where there are children in 7th and 8th grade and they don’t know how to add. We are thinking how could that be possible and again they are passing our children and they are not even proficient in basic math.”