The violent crime that continues to plague the Goldsboro area led a group of community organizers to launch a mentoring program for young men.
The 100 Fold program, planned to start in August, will connect 100 male mentors with 100 young men in grades 7 through 12.
The program will be operated under the umbrella of the Mary Wooten Harvey Foundation, a newly created nonprofit, led by a board of directors.
"There's no way that me or anybody else here, being a citizen of Wayne County, can see the atrocities happening in our community and not take action," said Bobby Harvey, foundation president.
The program will train 100 male mentors, identify 100 young men in need of positive role models and match mentors with youth based on certain target areas.
Monthly workshops will be organized for all participants, parent involvement meetings will take place, and an outing, such as visiting a theme park, is planned for those who complete the program, from August through May 2018.
Mentors from all walks of life, different professions and different backgrounds are being sought.
"We're looking for professional and solid, standup citizens people know," Harvey said.
Mentor training and certification will take place at the Goldsboro Family YMCA. Background checks and other screenings are planned. Anyone with a sexual offense on their record will be disqualified, Harvey said.
"The one thing that's going to separate this program from others is everyone who wants to become a mentor will go through an extensive screening process," said Mark Colebrook, a board member of the Mary Wooten Harvey Foundation.
Mentors must be 25 years of age or older. They will need to have a valid driver's license and insurance and be willing to devote two hours each week to the program.
The 100 Fold program is seeking positive role models that are willing to commit long-term, in an effort to help youth in need of direction and support, Harvey said.
Program organizers are working to identify 100 young men who would be interested in benefiting from the program. Plans include identifying middle and high school students from Goldsboro area schools, including Dillard Middle School, Dillard Academy and Goldsboro High School, during the first year.
The effort is planned to eventually cover the entire county.
"Our end goal is to service all of the needy teens in Wayne County," he said. "We want to be at all the schools."
Youth will need to live in an underserved area of the community and be within the target school area. Individualized plans will be developed for each of the youth and will guide activities for the mentors.
"Our goal is to be part of every part of that child's life," Colebrook said. "What we're going to do is address every aspect of the child's life. We want to be an extension of everything they're dealing with."
Adults interested in becoming a mentor can stop by the Mary Wooten Harvey Foundation office at 200 W. Ash St. or call 222-1419. A new website, www.mwhfoundation.com, will also be launched in early July. The program is supported by private, community and corporate donations, grants and fundraisers.
"I just want to facilitate change in people who sincerely desire to change but lack the resources," Harvey said.