NORFOLK, Va. - Before his fame and success in Hollywood, Dondre Whitfield was just a kid growing up in Brooklyn. Like many young folks, he was raised by a single mom.
The actor and best-selling author said, "The inevitable task that many of our sisters face is having to raise a boy, a young male, and to somehow try to activate him to come into his manhood."
For years he has been dedicated to being a strong male voice for boys who don't have one, as well as adults who need to enhance theirs.
So when he received the invitation from Dr. Roselyn Aker-Black and Renay Butler to speak directly to teens in a virtual male summit, he jumped right in.
"Voices like mine, and some of the other speakers that are a part of this summit, are essential in getting them to be able to matriculate into their manhood," Whitfield said.
"It's going to start out with the opportunity to learn about your civil rights. Do you understand what healthy relationships look like? [We need them] to understand why education is an equalizer for our boys," said COO/Program Director, Roselyn Aker-Black.
Renay Butler, the CEO and President of Goal Grinders said, "One of the goals of this summit was to give the boys, and males or their mentors that attend with them, a safe space to really dig deep into their emotions and to really be in a place to learn."
Speakers include actors and authors, like Dondre, as well as senators and behavioral therapists.
Butler says one goal is "to say, 'Hey, you guys really matter, you guys are the core of the Black family. We have to give you away to be strong, to build you up, to educate you.'"
Whitfield said, "[The boys] need to be able to get the information and the instruction, but it doesn't stop there. Now once you gain the information in the instruction, now it's about your application of that information and instruction."
These are just some of the lessons covered in the free summit.
Aker-Black said she wants the boys to know that, "Once you have the information, no one can take it from you."
It's a small step in building a stronger community.
The summit will take place on Monday, October 12, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Click here to register.