Like Father Like Son

“With a significant amount of African-American boys growing up without fathers, mentorship is an even more important tool in helping African-American boys excel and achieve the highest positions in life.” 

Unfortunately, many young African-American boys do not have their father in their lives as a positive influence, which makes mentorship so critical for their development. Fortunately, I was not one of those boys: My father is Stephen Maurice Jones.

My father was one of my first examples of what having a strong work ethic really means. For as long as I can remember, he woke up every morning at 6 a.m. to go to his job as the Director of the Simba Program at Franklin County Children Services (FCCS) in Columbus, Ohio before going to his second job at the Rosemont Center Home for Girls, where he coordinated events and activities for the program. In addition to demonstrating the characteristics of someone with a strong work ethic, my father also demonstrated what it means to be selfless and dedicate oneself to the betterment of others.

The Simba Program’s motto is “African-American men helping boys become responsible African-American men”. It supports the entire community by recognizing that African-American boys need to be mentored by African-American men. In the programs own words, “mentors have the opportunity to guide boys toward the development of their self-esteem, academic excellence, career goals and plans for the future”. My father often shared with me that the program need oftentimes far exceeds the mentors the program has available. This should never be the case.

In October, after previously doing a speaking engagement for their end of the year workshop,  DC-CAP, a mentoring program for District of Columbia High School age students contacted me to become a part of their Alpha Leadership Project. The Alpha Leadership Project’s main purpose is to bridge the gap and ensure that African-American males not only graduate high school but also go to college. Because of my father’s influence, I chose to give back to my community as a mentor.  Why would I not be willing to mentor to give other young men the guidance they might or might not be as fortunate to get from the males in their life? I was fortunate to get this from my father and that showed me how important it is to give this direction to others.

When I was asked on my application why I wanted to participate in the program I simply answered, “I believe young black men need mentors. How can I say this and not want to help?” It is really that simple, there is a need and if you believe that you can help…fill it.  We need to go and get involved. Set an example for your peers and the next generation. Find a mentee and work diligently alongside them so they are proud to say “like mentor, like mentee” or in my case, “like father, like son.”

These are just a couple examples of mentorship programs making a positive difference. Ask around to find an organization that matches mentors and mentees in your community and become a part of the solution.

It is really that simple. There is a need and if you believe that you can help…fill it.  Set an example for your peers and the next generation. Find a mentee and work diligently alongside them so they are proud to say “like mentor, like mentee” or in my case to my greatest mentor, “like father, like son.”

January is National Mentoring Month. For more information, visit

5 thoughts on “Like Father Like Son

  1. Dear Sean:

    Congratulations on an awesome kickoff for “THE VILLAGE” Blog for the A great contribution to help us further our awareness of the need for mentors. I am encouraged that such programs for both young men and women will continue to serve us, our communities and our world well.

    The product of powerful familial “LOVE LEGACY”; a dual parent household (parents have been married 48 years) come this March 2013, I am blessed to have been and continue to be mentored by both of my parents. They are our first teachers indeed. However, I too had many outside mentors who nurtured, guided, loved and still love me to this day. It is indeed our obligation to PAY IT FORWARD for the generations to come.

    Thank you again for your insight and sharing here. Happy New Year!


  2. I think that we should not fetishize the male led household, agreed it POTENTIALLY makes parenting more effective but A. lets be honest not everyone that can conceive a child is, or can be a goood parent. BIOLOGY doe not care about parenting only conceiving, Society IS CONCERNED ABOUT PARENTING. so the question we must ask is what are the factors that make for good parenting.
    I would say there are multiple routes, one which is a male and female who are loving and knowledgeable, sane, etc. etc. but there are other combinations of individuals that can be good parents. the one thisng that society can do to promote good parenting is to provide help ADEQUATE physical means for survival, not the measly crumbs our society provides, more like what the Scandinavian countries do for their citizens.
    We should not underestimate the tremendous parenting that a lot of our single Black women have done , and we should analyze the failures of some of our single Black mothers in a scientific manner. not in a sexist, anti female ,male centered, religious manner.
    there is much more to this discussion.

  3. Mentors are also helpful even in situations where there is a father in the household. A mentor can fulfill the need of providing another perspective, insight into a particulars profession or discipline, etc. Thankyou Mr. Breeze for encouraging men to give back to our community by mentoring. Similarly, women should also mentor —both males and females. Mentoring does not have to be limited to the same gender. Let’s stay involved .

  4. Great read Sean. Now the execution is going to be the real work. Mentorship is keep but at the same time finding qualified and people that are worthy is not that easy.

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