By Dawn Paul, Associate Editor
What is the definition of manhood? With social media, television, and today’s portrayal of manhood, it is hard for some, especially adolescent boys to know the true definition. There are so many temptations and negative influences out there that can have a negative impact on our young boys. With the family unit changing, many adolescent males in our community are growing up without a positive male role model and influence in the household. However, we cannot give up on our young males as they are not at-risk, but in at-risk situations. There is an organization that is vital and relevant, doing great work preparing our young males for a bright future. Mufasa’s Pride Rites of Passage (Mufasa’s Pride) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization on a mission to help define and redefine manhood in the eyes of our adolescent young men.
At the helm of the organization is T. Hondre’ Outley, who is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Mufasa’s Pride. Though he runs the day-to-day operations, he definitely does not take the credit for the work this organization does. Cornelius Wright is the Director and Co-Founder, working to pour into the lives of our young males. The Board of Directors, which includes Gospel recording artist, Kathy Taylor, are a dedicated group who stand behind Outley and Wright, helping to fulfill the Mufasa’s Pride mission to help make sure our young males grow up to be men who pay it forward in a positive way.
“Mufasa’s Pride…the pride of my father, is a divinely inspired and formulated community-based program for adolescent boys. God entrusted Cornelius and I with this vision, and we don’t take this responsibility lightly. With passion, motivation, and determination, we have formulated a dynamic and powerful program for today’s urban males,” says Outley. Mufasa’s Pride targets young males between the ages of 12-17 and is committed to making a difference in the lives of these young men by equipping them with the tools necessary to help change the world of tomorrow. These tools are provided through their 7 Impact Sessions that are foundational courses, using classroom instructional strategies, field trips, speakers, and exposure to real-life experiences. Mufasa’s Pride also teaches 7 Pillars that are components of what they believe make up the whole and complete man.
7 Impact Sessions:
- CITIZENS OF THE WORLD
- THE RENAISSANCE MAN
- MY SPIRIT MAN
- GIVING IT BACK
- MY BODY….MY TEMPLE
- THE BOOKER T. INSTITUTE
- MY MONEY….MY B.I.S.S.NESS
With Mufasa’s Pride not being reactive, but proactive, our young men are able to learn and experience what manhood really is. They are learning that manhood is more than what society says a man is, and more than what the media portrays a Black man to be. Taylor says, “I truly believe in what Mufasa’s Pride is doing, and that is why I am on the board. Like my nonprofit KATCO, where I’m working with 9th graders at my alma mater, Worthing High School, I understand the importance of pouring into our adolescents. Some young people have a very unrealistic view of what manhood is. I have seen the work Mufasa’s Pride does, and I am proud to be a part of this organization’s efforts.” Between the efforts of Outley, Wright and the board, young males are seeing that manhood is more than swag, girls, money, and athletics, and with it comes real responsibility and accountability.
Q&A With Mufasa’s Pride Rites of Passage:
What is your message to our adolescent males in today’s society where social media portrays unrealistic images of manhood? That it is not REAL. In the real world, actions have real consequences, and sometimes those consequences have an impact for a lifetime. They see images of ‘get money’ by any means necessary. They want instant gratification. Unfortunately, they are not shown in many instances that hard work really does pays off.
Do you focus on adolescent Black males only? We welcome any urban male who wants our services, however, our initial target is the lowest performing demographic in our society, which sadly is our Black boys.
Please give me a success story as a result of the work Mufasa’s Pride does.
We have many success stories, but one that comes to mind is about a young man we helped to open up his mind about who he was and what he was capable of accomplishing. 4 years ago we took our young men on a trip to Atlanta, GA, where we toured Morehouse College. It was on that trip that this young man asked if we thought he could attend such a prestigious HBCU. I told him not only could he attend, but working hard on his grades, he could receive a scholarship. Today that young man is in his 3rd year at Morehouse College, and on a full-ride scholarship as a Bonner Scholar. He’s not just attending, but excelling and developing in such a way that he is positioning himself for greatness!
What is your message to our adolescent males to stay positive in today’s society where there are such negative depictions of them in the media?
My message to them is God has given each of them their very own “light.” With this mindset, whoever they encounter or whatever negative stereotypes they see, they won’t believe it. Instead, they will believe in their light.
What is the approach you use that works to reach our adolescent males? We start off with a group of dedicated and committed men who though not perfect, have managed to become successful in our own right. We engage them each with a level of transparency and realness that allows them to become vulnerable to the process. Once we have their trust and they know that they matter and we are never going to give up on them, great change happens. From there, it’s a matter of sharing knowledge that will help to bring about an awareness and enlightenment.
Mufasa’s Pride has an annual fundraiser that will be held on Saturday March 25, 2017. This fundraiser is vital to the organization, as it is not receiving federal funding at the moment. Without the generosity of the community and sponsors, Mufasa’s Pride cannot continue.
Outley and Wright feel that the most important accolades Mufasa’s Pride receives are positive feedback from parents on the improvement of their son’s behavior because they feel heard and validated. The young males they assist come from different backgrounds. Though some of their boys have great relationships with their fathers, it’s important for the boys to see that their fathers appreciate the Mufasa’s Pride concept. Outley says, “We work diligently to change the negative trajectory that many of our young men are on, and for those who are already on the right path, it’s about exposure, enlightenment, and making them aware of their options.” For more on Mufasa’s Pride Rites of Passage, please visit www.MufasasPride.org or contact T. Hondre’ Outley at 281-231-2829 and firstname.lastname@example.org.