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Chionesu Bakari Program For Young Men “Guiding Light of Noble Promise”

“Moving Forward”

September / October 2013 issue 004

A Word From The Director I’d like to welcome all of our new families as well as our returning families to Chionesu Bakari. This year we are proud to have 13 new young men and their families join us! I’m grateful for a new year which looks “fruitful“ as we expand upon the great work which has been already been established. I believe that our work will be even more impactful for both parents/guardians as well as the young men alike. Many of our young men and staff have just viewed the movie “12 Years A Slave” and experienced many different opinions and feelings about the real life story of Solomon Northup. We send a special thank you to the Simeon Guild of St. Paul Community Baptist Church (Brooklyn, NY) who sponsored our young men to see the movie. Our organization continues to build relationships with our current sponsors and seeks to form new partnerships in order to assist with the mission of the program. I’m excited about our anticipated upcoming trip to California during President’s week 02/16/14-02/22/14. This will give the young men the opportunity to travel to Oakland, Long Beach, Compton and San Diego. During this trip we will be visiting the San Diego Zoo, the African Museum, the University of Southern California (USC), Charles Drew University of Medicine & Science, Remember Them Humanitarian Monument, the Redwood Regional Park and The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University amongst a few other places. The organization is looking to raise the $40,000 that will be needed to fund this venture. The Financial Committee has been challenged with the major effort to coordinate this funding. This year our young men will enhance their skills in financial planning, investing, public speaking and will be introduced to chess and bridge. Finally, planning has begun for our Annual Gala and Awards Ceremony, which will be held on June 6, 2014 at The LaGuardia Sheraton. We look forward to your continued prayers and support as we venture into our 8th year “A Year of New Beginnings.” Namaste Horace L. Moore, Director









ƒƒ CB 2013-2014 CALENDAR



CB Alumni Parents Speak on Why They Return to CB This is the season for harvests! The leaves are changing on the trees and crops are being stored in preparation for the change and development that winter brings. So too is Chionesu Bakari (CB) preparing for its eighth year. Every season at CB brings about new beginnings etched in the promise of high expectations, adventure, beauty and greatness, and this season is no different. To kick off Chionesu Bakari’s eighth season, we decided to get a better understanding of why some of the parents/guardians whose young men have completed the program return. Stacey Bowie son Branden Westbrooks Morehouse College Class of 2017 Chionesu Bakari has done wonders for my son Branden and me, so there is no question in my mind that I have to give back. To whom much is given much is required and this program has given so much to us. I want to show new parents that this program is worth sticking with. Branden has matured so much during his time at CB. His level of self-awareness and esteem increased exponentially and he is able to honor and respect people for who they are even when he doesn’t agree. In addition, Branden has a positive outlook about his future and he is clear about the path that he will have to take, to become who he wants to be. A perfect example of all of these things lies in the way Branden researched colleges with the best Business Programs before ultimately deciding to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA.


Lena Hester grandson Pharoah Turpin Morehouse College, Class of 2016 I come back to CB every year because CB is family, not just to Pharoah but to me, too! CB has helped to shape my grandson’s views about the world and his outlook on life. It has given him male mentors that will be there to listen, to inspire, guide and give sound, unbiased advice. Not only that, but Pharoah is a part of a brotherhood where they take care of each other and share common interests. He has learned that it is not just about him. I see how he has become more outspoken and the way he has assumed his place in the world. I just want to be a part of helping to shape other families and young men. I just want to give back some of what was given to me. Pharoah is currently a sophomore at Morehouse College. Yvonne Robinson son John Robinson - CB Youth Liaison The Art Institute of NY, Class of 2014 I return to CB as an alumni parent to recommit myself to the vision of the program. Chionesu was born during a time when my family was going through a shift and I felt John needed additional support from male mentors to help guide him through. Over the years I have watched my son develop a spirit of leadership, commitment and humility. Now I want to be available to help the young men and their parents so that I can share some of what was given to my son and I. I strive to give back with time, service, finances, and to be a mentor to the active parents. CB is more than a program, it is a way of life. Most importantly I stay because CB is family and you don’t walk away from family.

Paulette Bailey son Darius Davidson Lincoln University, Class of 2016 I have so much gratitude for CB and all it has done in my son Darius’ life that I have to pay it forward. It was not always easy, and maybe I can help another family get through a rough time by sharing my past experiences. I can’t imagine what could make me leave! CB is a lifelong brotherhood for our young men. To me that means I am also committed to the program and our young men for life. As a parent I have spent a lot of time with my CB family, developed positive relationships, networked and grown to love them. We are together in this as one collective unit. Besides I still have high hopes for our young men. We have to work together for them to succeed. Tracey Evans son Sharieff Evans Medgar Evers College, Class of 2017 There are so many reasons why I continue to come back to CB even though my son has completed the program, but they all add up to value. For starters, I am still learning, growing and developing myself and the mandatory parent component of this program helps me with this. The workshops that are put together for the parents are enlightening. They are beneficial to me as a single parent and for my overall healing and progression. In addition, being a part of the program has helped make my relationship with my son stronger. Now we have great dialogue with each other and he feels comfortable speaking to me about almost anything. l also enjoy giving back to CB by serving on the “Special Events” Committee. It takes a lot of money to run a program of this caliber and it is a pleasure to be a part of a group that helps create and implement new fund-raising ideas. I would not have it any other way.  By Charisse Smith


Valued Life Lessons for a CB Family Theater and has opened up a lot since joining the program. At one time he was introverted, but based on the coaching and guidance received in CB, he has opened up more and advocates for himself. Akeem has recently joined “Mama Sing Gospel For Teens.” The Gospel for Teens program teaches gospel music and gives young people opportunities to sing at numerous special events. In addition, Akeem enjoys creative writing. When it’s time for college, Akeem wants to study visual and performing arts.

In 2005, Tosca Meyers decided to return to her native Brooklyn, NY, after residing in both Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, VA. Tosca returned with her two sons Malik & Akeem Stanford who were 5 and 4 years old respectively. Tosca, who is a Customer Service Representative Akeem credits CB with broadening his for GEICO Insurance Company, saw outlook, primarily from the travel that has been the young men of rich in edChionesu Bakari ucational, serving in vari“ Being honest about his encounter cultural ous roles in and with the police, Malik recalled that he and fun around St. Paul didn’t take the [CB]workshop about experiencCommunity Baptist police stops seriously, however, in the es, Niagara Church, where her moment when the police stopped him he F a l l s , aunt Gwen Werner recognized the benefit [of CB]. ” Canada is a member. At being his the time, Tosca was favorite. actively searching for programs that would provide her CB has been instrumental in teaching sons with positive men who would im- Akeem the importance of personal hypact their lives. Malik joined CB in 2007 giene, grooming and how being polite and Akeem in 2009. The fact that the can take one far in life. program was housed at St. Paul gave Tosca’s older son Malik, now 17 years Tosca an even greater sense of comfort. old, is a senior at Murray Bertram High Tosca is grateful for the impact that Chionesu Bakari has had on her sons’ lives. Sixteen-year-old Akeem is a tenth grader at Brooklyn School For Music &

School. In his spare time he enjoys public speaking and dancing. As with some young black men his age, his independence drove him to make a decision to

take a short break from CB. Tosca and the CB family are glad to see him back in the program this October. Malik admits that when he left, he faced some challenges that he hadn’t when he was active with CB. His organization skills diminished and his grades began to drop when he left the program. Malik tells of recently being stopped by police on the train. In the moment of tense police questioning, he recalled a workshop regarding managing police stops that he attended while in CB. Being honest about his encounter with the police, Malik recalled that he didn’t take the workshop about police stops seriously, however, in the moment when the police stopped him he recognized the benefit. This challenging situation helped him realize the need to return to CB. Malik recognized the need for the consistent structure and positive reinforcement from strong men who really cared about him. After graduating from high school, Malik wants to attend Brower College in Florida. Tosca recounts that raising two young black men hasn’t always been easy. She never thought she’d be a parent nonetheless a single parent. Tosca shared that while CB is helpful for Malik and Akeem, it is most helpful to her. As a parent, the parent workshops in CB have taught her to recognize her sons as individuals and to listen to them. Personally, Tosca has learned life lessons and is applying them daily.Tosca is excited that her sons are both fully engaged in CB and looks forward to lending her skills to CB’s Social Media Committee.  By Antoinette Miller

“We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.” Jesse Owens


CB Young Men Reflect on Summer 2013 CB is a year-round program and during the summer, the program takes to the road giving the 48 young men ages 8 to 18 exposure to people and places outside of their community. After many new experiences both in New York City and traveling to Miami, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; Louisville, Kentucky; Cleveland, Ohio; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Chicago, Illinois; the young men reflected on the different components of the summer program. The young men answered three questions that aid us in understanding the impact CB is having on their lives and development. Their responses are summarized here. What was your most memorable experience with CB this summer?

Describe the one thing you learned this summer that you can pass on to others ?

 The tour of the G.E. Lighting Institute. It was cool to learn about all of the different forms of lighting, what they are used for and how they work. I never thought about lighting that much, now I understand how much it matters.

 Leadership: many of the campers and counselors have very good leadership skills  Always look out for your CB brothers and always tell the truth  Even though I made some mistakes, I still had the ability to be a leader.

 Visiting historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

 Be mindful of your surroundings, pay attention and always be prepared.

 Visiting Miami, FL, for the first time, riding bikes in South Beach, FL, visiting the Miami Heat Arena. The weather combined with the attractions made it a wonderful experience.

 You can develop relationships with people you never would expect to.  I learned how to write journal entries and when I become a big brother I can show my little brothers how to do it.  I learned to trust my CB brothers and know they will help me when I need it.

 Being in Miami, FL, when George Zimmerman was pronounced “Not Guilty” in the death of Trayvon Martin.  Visiting the United Center Arena and seeing Michael Jordan’s statue in Chicago.  Traveling with CB and seeing different places outside of NYC.  Bike riding throughout NYC. The experience was fun although very tiring.  Hanging out with Elder Young and some of my CB brothers


 Learned to accept people for who they are. Don’t try to change them, but rather embrace their positive qualities.  I learned to pick and choose my battles and also not to talk back to people.  Never underestimate yourself and your ideas. If you do, you will never grow.  Do not fight one another; this allows our enemies to grow stronger against us.  I learned the value of being responsible and time management; everything we did is an opportunity to learn and grow.

What would you like to experience next summer that you did not experience this summer?  Visiting the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, KY.  Visiting engineering schools across the country and learning more about why people in the field decided to become engineers.  Traveling further west and visiting new places.  Traveling outside of the U.S., maybe the United Kingdom.  Learning more about the history of slaves and how they were treated and learn about the Ku Klux Klan.  Traveling to Indiana or Washington DC to learn of more black history  Have a fund raiser for St. Jude to help children in need of money and cures for cancer.  Visit Niagara Falls again because it is one of the best attractions we’ve been to.  Play paint ball, play basketball at a recreation center, and visit an amusement park and ride lots of rides. It is very encouraging to read the young men’s perspectives of their experiences with CB over the summer. Chionesu Bakari creates the opportunity for young men to learn and grow as part of a community dedicated to enhancing their development.  By Sharon Swain



CB, A Special Place for Special Needs a struggle…the schools that Deirdra visited didn’t have the physical resources, academic strength or a caring environment. She ultimately found a private school that met Leon’s needs in language and communication development. Deirdre first learned about Chionesu Bakari in 2008 through a friend, Melissa Beech, who at that time was the Program’s Parent Coordinator. Deirdre was impressed when she saw the young men of Chionesu Bakari. She felt Leon needed this program that would give Our last issue (July/August) high- him an opportunity for growth socially lighted the accomplishments of and provide positive male role modBrandon Anderson, another mem- els. At that time, she approached the ber of the CB Family who is a special Director, Mr. Moore, and they decidneeds student. In this issue, we meet ed to wait a while before Leon could Leon Townsend and his mom. The join. Deirdre inquired a second time in success of these young men shows January 2010; and, when Leon was 13, he us what we can accomplish with love and Deirdre joined the CB Family. Leon’s and the support of our family. hobbies include playing basketball, Leon Geray Townsend, along with his playing video games, listening to music and dancmom Deirdra Smith, ing. Leon joined the Chionesu says that Family in January 2010. “ What Deirdra appreciates most he loves Deirdra is an Educator/ about CB is the opportunity for Leon Chionesu School Administrator to continually learn and be exposed Bakari and Leon’s father to new things, to travel, and also because is an Adolescent the relationships that he has built it has Substance Abuse with Mr. Moore, Elder Young and his taught Prevention Counselor brotherhood. ” him how for the Department of to be a Education. When Leon better was 18 months old, his godmother noted that Leon was still young man and how to work hard to not speaking and advised his mother achieve his goals. He said he loves to atto have him evaluated at Downstate tend the CB meetings and because he Medical Center. After being evaluated, has no brothers, he considers Chionesu it was discovered that Leon’s receptive Bakari to be his brotherhood where the process was better than his expressive other young men look out for him. process, he had a speech/auditory pro- Deirdre found in CB, a positive reception cessing delay and also needed physi- for her skills of public speaking, tips for cal/occupational therapy for gross/fine navigating through the school system motor skill delay. for those who require special educaFinding the right school for Leon was


tion services and also her ability to work with young people. What Deirdre appreciates most about CB is the opportunity for Leon to continually learn and

be exposed to new things, to travel, and also the relationships that he has built with Mr. Moore, Elder Young and his brotherhood. The parent component of the group has also helped Deirdre to feel like she is not alone and she has discovered other parents who struggle with some of the same issues. Deirdre feels that she is part of a network of people that can be called on at any time for help, not only for Leon, but for herself. She says that CB has given Leon a sense of belonging and acceptance. Deirdre has made decisions through God’s guidance so she has to trust that God will continue to guide and protect Leon. Having faced many challenges, Leon is moving up the educational ladder. He tends to understand math more readily, as it is a more concrete subject. Leon is looking forward to graduating in 2014. His colleges of choice are George Mason in Virginia or the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Both universities provide college-based programs for students with intellectual disabilities. Upon graduating from the Rites of Passage program, Leon was given the name Chioke Dakarai Sundai Bakari which means “a gift of God who brings happiness, keeps pushing forward and is of noble promise”. With the strong sense of self encouraged in CB and the support of his CB family, we are sure that Leon has a promising future ahead of him.  By Paulette Bailey

Inside CB - Committees Special Events Committee The Special Events/Planning Committee is heavily focused in the planning of several special events/ fundraisers in this upcoming year. The committe’s objectives are led by a dedicated team which includes Syeatta Bolden-Chair, Tracey Evans, Veronica Moore, Vanessa Paugh, John Robinson, Yvonne Robinson, and Millicent Smith. We are starting off this year with CB Movie Night with the showing of “The Best Man Holiday” at Court Street Theater on November 22nd. This fundraiser event will be followed by the annual sale of our ethnic holiday calendars. Some of the other events we will have include “A Night of Bowling”our bowl-a-thon fundraiser event, planning of the young men’s first trip to California, which is scheduled for February 2014, Awards Ceremony Gala and a CB Family Cruise. In 2013, this committee was responsible for the coordinating of events such as the 2nd Annual Rites Of Passage and Awards Ceremony Gala and Boat Ride to name a few. We are committed to bringing new and creative fundraising ideas to Chionesu Bakari that will assist us in the financial growth of this ministry as well as keeping us engaged as a unit by coordinating events that allow us to share in fun, work and family. 

Finance Committee The role of the Finance Committee is to provide financial oversight for Chionesu Bakari. The objectives of the committee are lead by a strong and dedicated team comprised of Rhonda Hartley-Chair, Annette Honeywell, Shirley Lawson, Angela Lynch, Vernell King and Valerie Powell. Our goals for the 2013-2014 session leverage our successes from last term with expectations of doubling our efforts this year. We have set long-range financial goals for Chionesu Bakari along with funding strategies to achieve them, primarily focused on corporations and political affiliates while also ensuing community outreach efforts. We are extremely grateful for the partnerships we have made with our sponsors and will continue to nuture our existing relationships. We are excited about engaging parent participation for the 2013-2014 session. We thank all of the parents who have recently reached out to the committee with funding prospects. We will keep you posted regarding progress. Please continue to reach out to the committee regarding any new prospects - large or small we will do all the work! 

Social Media Committee The Social Media Committee is excited about the 2013-2014 session and is ready to continue to expose the mission, vision and activities of Chionesu Bakari for young men. We welcome to the committee Charisse Smith, Tosca Myers and Latoya Kittrell with experience in photography, publication and marketing, complementing the talents and leadership from our first year. In addition to our new members our team includes Susan Delmoor-Rodriguez-Chair, Paulette Bailey, Monica Britton, Terri Butler, Antoinette Miller and Sharon Swain. The team’s primary focus for this season is the production of the bi-monthly CB newsletter with expanded distribution, CB website updates focusing on engagement for sponsors and members, enhanced CB marketing materials, and increased social media engagement. We are grateful and proud of last year’s accomplishments; to have established the official CB newsletter, created the CB New Parent Packet, added more ways to engage and support CB on the web and in social media and production of the Annual Gala Journal. As we embark into season eight, we are commited and ready to publicize the mission and success of Chionesu Bakari through high-quality digital and print media experiences to new and old CB Sponsors and Members.  Information provided by Syeatta Bolden, Rhonda Hartley, and Susan Delmoor-Rodriguez


CB Calendar of Events 2013-2014 September 2013 09/28 - Open House/New Parents

February 2014 02/16 - 02/22 - California Trip

November 2013 11/02 - CB Young Men @ the Movies 11/22 - CB Family Night @ the Movies

June 2014 06/06 - Annual Gala Tickets $125, Black Tie

December 2013 Holiday Calendars - $20 per calendar

June / August 2014 CB Family Cruise

January 2014 Martin Luther King weekend Annual Bowl-a-Thon

Summer Session Begins July 2, 2014-August 15, 2014

Please check our website for the latest information

Visit Chionesu Bakari Online Learn More about our Programs & Support CB!


Editor Horace L. Moore Newsletter Team Susan T. D. Rodriguez Paulette Bailey Monica Britton Terri Butler Latoya Kittrell Antoinette Miller Tosca Myers Charisse Smith Sharon Swain

NEXT ISSUE A focus on our Sponsors, A Letter from a Young Black Man, CB Family Highlights ... and much more

Stay tuned for more!

This newsletter is published by: Chionesu Bakari 859 Hendrix Street Brooklyn, New York 11207 Phone: 347-708-2008 This newsletter is also available online @

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Chionesu Bakari September/October 2013  

Chionesu Bakari - Program for Young Men's newsletter for September/October 2013. Chionesu Bakari is a program with a mission of saving and d...