Paul Robeson Institute for Positive Self-Development (PRI)

 

In the fall of 1989, The Concerned Black Men of Massachusetts, Inc. (CBMM), under the leadership auspices of its Standing Committee on Education initiated The Paul Robeson Institute for Positive Self-Development (PRI). PRI was founded to provide a vehicle of educational, emotional and personal support to young Black males and their families.

 

Predicated on the grounds that Black children and their families are at acute risk in today’s society, the Institute was formed to provide a range of early intervention and self-awareness options for elementary through high school age youth and their families.

 

In an effort to create an environment to combat today’s disinterest in learning; to negate the celebration of violence and self-destruction; to eradicate the need for substance abuse dependency; and to offset the enhancement of negative self-image reinforcement, CBMM assertively modeled formation of an infrastructure that targets “Striving for Excellence” in mind, body and spirit as a paramount goal for daily living for youth and their families. The Institute is modeled in name and spirit after Paul Robeson, an African-American male whose life’s work served as a paragon of achievement, strength, intellect, sensitivity, and self-conviction sufficient to overcome tremendous odds.

 

In a time when peer group pressure has supplanted the role of family as the primary influence shaping a child’s life and values; when the loss of self-esteem becomes the normal course of development in a child’s life from pre-school onward; and when mass media becomes the pabulum for value Information and verification of family and church, there is a critical need for leadership, mentorship, and positive role model exposure that challenges the apathy and fear governing the lives of our youth, their families and communities. The Paul Robeson Institute for Positive Self-Development is designed to offer longitudinal strategic alternatives to these by-products of centuries of neglect and institutional racism.

 

Mentoring and guiding our young males!

 

We believe that our students are capable of making positive choices that lead to productive lives.  We do not believe that poverty or racial discrimination are insurmountable barriers to success.  We believe that with positive mentorship by successful and concerned Black men, and exposure to alternative positive concepts, strategies, and opportunities, our students will make choices that will enable them to thrive as individuals and as leaders in our community.

 

Recognizing that parents are vital to the development of young men, PRI also embraces parents and encourages their participation in the program whenever possible.  As a result, parents come to trust the commitment of the program to the well-being of their sons and depend on PRI volunteers to provide advice to them when working through problems with their sons.  When necessary, PRI volunteers always working in pairs will often facilitate problem-solving sessions between parents and sons during Saturday sessions or during the week through home visits.

HELPING OUR YOUTH

Positive model of the functioning family and community

Unfortunately, many black families live in environments with myriad problems that can be directly attributed to poverty and racial discrimination.   Because these problems often result in parents having to work two jobs to meet financial obligations, time for children is often limited. Because of this they are often depressed and overwhelmed by the needs of their sons. This syndrome played out at the community level provides little support to families who are struggling.

 

To counter the negative impact of poverty and racial discrimination, PRI provides a structure for success built on the Nuguzo Saba, a communitarian African philosophy that comprises the seven principles of Kwanzaa.  While Kwanzaa celebration is a once a year occurrence, the seven principles are the cornerstone of what we strive to instill in the boys that we work with every Saturday, indeed, every PRI session begins and concludes with a call and response recitation of these seven principles:

To realize their true worth and potential.

Kwanzaa was created to introduce and reinforce seven basic values of African culture which contribute to building and reinforcing family, community, and culture among African American people. CBMM, through its Paul Robeson Institute for Positive Self-Development (PRI), reinforces this belief and the practice of the seven principles through a “call-and-response” recitation during each of the Saturday morning program meetings and through structured volunteerism with community partners for the youth participating in PRI

 

Recognizing that parents are vital to the development of young men, PRI also embraces parents and encourages their participation in the program whenever possible.  As a result, parents come to trust the commitment of the program to the well-being of their sons and depend on PRI volunteers to provide advice to them when working through problems with their sons.  When necessary, PRI volunteers always working in pairs will often facilitate problem-solving sessions between parents and sons during Saturday sessions or during the week through home visits.

 

From our opening Harambee, with the call and response recitation of the Nguzo Saba, to the closing “Circle of Love” which culminates with the boys acknowledging things for which they are thankful, PRI students are infused with the concept that personal responsibility builds strong communities in which we are all our brother’s keepers. There is the expectation of high achievement and success and the responsibility to give back.

By Dr. Maulana Karenga.  

 

Taken from http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org/7principles.shtml. 

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Concerned Black Men of Massachusetts, Inc 

Improving the Quality of the Black Community by Reaffirming the Vitality of the Black Male

© Copyright 2019 CBMM, Inc. 

Email: info@cbmm.net

136 Warren Street

Boston, Massachusetts 02119