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Mentoring Program For Black Youth Recognizes 'Heroes'

This piece originally aired July 20, 2015, during All Things Considered.

A former Wichita police chief and a long-time pastor will receive special awards tonight as part of the Real Men, Real Heroes annual recognition banquet.

Credit Courtesy Real Men, Real Heroes Facebook
Norman Williams

Real Men, Real Heroes is an organization that provides positive role models for African-American boys. More than half of black children in America live without a father in the home.

“A Lifetime of Mentoring” is the theme for this year’s sold-out event. Former Wichita Police Chief Norman Williams and Rev. Lincoln Montgomery of Tabernacle Bible Church are the honorees. Rev. Montgomery has helped the organization by mentoring a group of kids at their school.

Credit Courtesy Real Men, Real Heroes Facebook
Rev. Lincoln Montgomery

"When I started all ten of them were on the verge of being put out of school," Montgomery says. "Nine of them, their grades came up. Only one of them struggled, and that said to me that I'm not that extraordinary, but the demonstration that somebody cares makes all the difference."

Students will also be celebrated for their academic achievements and a Special Recognition Award will be given to Gretchen Eick, author of "Dissent in Wichita" and professor of history, emerita, at Friends University. University of Kansas basketball player Perry Ellis will also be honored.