By Amanda Watson, Marketing Coordinator (Portage, IN)
(South Bend, Ind.) - Preston Chaney is an employee of the Holladay-owned Inn at Saint Mary's Hotel & Suites in South Bend, Ind. He is actively involved in two charitable organizations that are his way of giving back to his community: 100 Black Men of America and Fathers First.
100 Black Men of America, Inc. is a national organization and we have a chapter here in South Bend known as 100 Black Men of Greater South Bend, Inc. The mission of the 100 Black Men of Greater South Bend, Inc. is to improve the quality of life within our communities and enhance educational and economic opportunities for all African Americans. We have chosen four principals to help reach our goal: Mentoring, Education, Health & Wellness, and Economic Development.
- Mentoring: A mentor empowers a person to see a possible future, and believe it can be obtained (Shawn Hitchcoak). Currently members of the 100 are also Dream Team mentors. They perform one-on-one mentoring with students on a weekly basis.
- Education: As our flagship initiative, The Freedman Academy meets by-weekly and is targeted at African American males in grades 2 through 12 teaching on many skills to becoming productive citizens.
- Health & Wellness: African Americans traditionally have higher incidences of preventable diseases than their white counter parts, teaching how to correct these disparities.
- Economic Development: The 100 South Bend Chapter supports initiatives that address economic disparities in the African American Community.
You can view the many activities that this organization is involved with at 100BlackMenofSouthBend.org.
Fathers First: Changing The Norm. Supporting The Transformation, Helping to cultivate a culture where fathers are present, valued and loved.
Fathers First Group was founded in early 2014 by three local people who wanted to put together something to celebrate the dads in our community. Our mission is to impact the growth and development of fathers and father figures in a way that creates healthy men and bonded children. Statistics tell us that issues such as poverty, teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, obesity, high school dropout rates, incarceration, behavior and academies problems in school, suicide and abuse neglect among children have all been connected to fatherlessness. Many of those same challenges are facing our community and we believe that as fathers have a more active role in the family, these issues will decrease. Our belief is that fathers play a key role in creating positive change In our society. We provide fathers with fun family activities to do with their children. Soon we will offer educational classes including parenting, co-parenting and healthy relationships.