400 Boys Participate in 5000 Role Models Tie-Tying Ceremony

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More than 400 boys on Tuesday committed themselves to the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project, the same group to which fallen Sgt. La David Johnson belonged.

The program found in dozens of school started in 1993 by U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., encourages boys and teens to push themselves to exceed in their studies and goals, as well as to support their communities.

Hundreds of boys, of mostly minority backgrounds, lined up wearing red ties that were untied. Each boy, in front of their families and peers, had their ties done by one of their mentors.

The tie-tying ceremony is a symbolic gesture in which the role models make a commitment to help guide the boys into manhood.

Wilson has recently been embroiled in controversy after she said President Donald Trump made an insensitive call to the widow of Johnson, who was killed in an ambush in Niger.

“Sgt. La David Johnson; he was in the role models program. Most of our kids are young men in inner-city schools … so you have all walks of life,” Pastor Richard Dunn, a program role model, said.

One of the program’s members said his future was not clear prior to joining. The program allows students to visit colleges, involve themselves in community service and shadow their role models at work.

“I’d probably be scratching or pulling my hair out trying to find a way to get to college,” Darius Parker Avant said. “I’m gonna get a degree in business administration and I’m contemplating on going to law school.”

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