Mentors join YMCA program, more needed for grant

Published 7:58 pm Friday, June 30, 2017

A partnership between the YMCA of Selma and Dallas County’s Reach and Rise mentorship program and 100 Black Men of Selma Inc. is providing more mentors for children in Selma and Dallas County.

The program launched last year and has been looking to add more mentors. The program recently added five new mentors, who are all members of 100 Black Men of Selma.

Billy Young, one of the new mentors and a board member for the YMCA, said program director Martha Pilcher and Ann Murray, executive director of the YMCA, reached out to him about getting the 100 Black Men of Selma involved in the program.

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“They said there was a huge need for male mentors, and they asked if it was possible if I could get the 100 to help,” Young said. “So I took that back to the 100 and all of us agreed that we wanted this program to exist and that it was very important for us to provide positive male role models.”

Young, along with William Powell, Effell Williams, Charles Johnson Sr. and Jerome Thames, went through the training and are now waiting to be matched with a mentee.

“I’m excited because I can remember being a young person and being excited about being around adults,” Young said. “I’m excited to be able to share some of my experiences with a young person and hopefully broaden their horizons.”

Young said he hopes to have five more members of the 100 Black Men of Selma go through the training, so they can be a mentor as well.

“He got us five great mentors, and he’s promised me five more soon,” Pilcher said. “Male mentors are real important to the program because we have so many male children being referred that need a positive male role model in their life.”

The program, which is funded by the Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention, started last fall and has around 20 mentors. So far, Pilcher said 13 of them have been matched, and the is mentors and mentees are doing great together.

“The matches we have, have just been really wonderful,” Pilcher said. We have two matches that started at the end of November, so they’re hitting the halfway mark for the year, so we’re getting to see the results of how these mentors can impact the lives of these kids they’re participating in.”

Pilcher said the program is always looking for more mentors, male and female, to be a part of a child’s life. Anyone interested in signing up to be a mentor can call Pilcher at (334) 327-1489 or email her at