MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Memphis police officers, firefighters and fraternity brothers spent Friday at Riverview Elementary School helping students kick off the 100th day with an event called “100 days of excellence with 100 excellent men.”
It’s part of Mayor Jim Strickland’s call to action for the people of Memphis, more young men reaching out and mentoring a child.
“This area’s really in need of some positive male role models, especially black male role models," said Major Durand Martin with the Memphis Police Department.
MPD and local fraternity brothers already spend their free time mentoring kids at Riverview, but wanted to do something memorable for their 100th day of school.
“What better way than to find 100 men of excellence around the community that these kids see every day and don’t know who they are," said Tamika Williams, of Communities in Schools of TN, an organization that strives to keep kids in school. "Now they can put a face with a name and an organization that might be able to help them in the future.”
Many of the students come from broken homes and have no father figure in the picture, according to organizers.
The hope is that they will see the positive impact these professional men have in the community and that they’ll be inspired to do the same.
“We want these guys to see that, no matter where you come from, you can make it," Martin said.
And just maybe, for these kids who have already been through so much, today will leave a lasting mark.
“When there were men who showed an interest in me, and they believed in me, and they motivated me, and they encouraged me," said fourth-grade teacher Andrea Dandridge.
One Omega Psi Phi brother, a self-proclaimed former bully, shared a powerful story with students about the day he was stabbed at just 13.
“I promised God that I’d do something with my life if he let me live," he said. "I’m still trying. You oughta try too.”
Those men will be on campus most of the day, dropping into classrooms, spreading positivity and giving kids words of encouragement.