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“It Takes a Village to Raise a Child”—But It Takes Men to Build a Man

July 10, 2017

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As men, we’re not all that comfortable with an article that begins like this. Whether we swagger through life just in our heads or occasionally with our whole-body attitudes, there is a sincere crisis going on within our society.

Fatherlessness. Maybe you had that. I did as well.

When I, the last of my parent’s children, was a lad of 8, my brother, 16 years older than me, was killed in a private airplane crash. He was the pilot. My father was along for the ride. So was a doctor from our town in Oregon, who was also killed. Our family got ripped apart.

My Dad lived. Kind of. He was seriously crippled for the rest of his days. At that young age, a lot of life was up to me to figure out.

Oh, I majored on being a “good boy,” so that the anger...

February 13, 2017

Tell us who you are and what you do!

My name is Will “Zee” Tidwell and I am originally from Little Rock, Arkansas. I am a public speaker, writer, and a youth builder. My business, SpeakUPZee, is a company that consists of public speaking, writing, poetry and mentoring mainly focusing on the youth. I believe the youth dream the most and dream the biggest. SpeakUPZee wants them to keep dreaming and help them achieve what it is they’ve been dreaming about.

I used to write down snippets of poems, record myself and share them on my social media. The feedback I received from my followers made me feel adequate and I wanted to keep progressing. I began to take my writings and poems seriously, but I needed to figure out a way to transform my hobb...

The statistics point to a startling, yet simple, truth: black boys who cannot read are already in trouble. So if we know that black boys aren't reading the level they should, what can we do to improve that? It starts with awareness and extends to:

Customized reading plans

A large part of improving the reading rates of black boys is to provide curriculum plans that are a little less rigid and a little more nuanced. As adults, the reading materials we pick up for the pure joy of reading are as varied as we are and it's acceptable for individuals to prefer certain genres over others. Kids don't have the same freedom. In fairness, before kids can determine what reading materials they will love, they must first have exposure to a wide variety...

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