by: Tenikka Smith Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A local group that mentors young men and boys is in talks with the White House about joining the president's "My Brother's Keeper" initiative.
Men Who Care Global formed in 2011 to provide support for African-American youth in Charlotte.
The organization hopes partnering with the White House will help further its mission to change lives like McKinley Johnson-Morning.
Just months ago Johnson-Morning was a part of the construction crew at the BB&T Ballpark in Uptown Charlotte thanks to an apprenticeship coordinated through Men Who Care Global.
“Just really hands-on learning, every day something new," Johnson-Morning said. "It was just a great opportunity."
It’s an opportunity that changed his life. His hard work at the ballpark earned him a job with Powerworks Electric, one of the subcontractors.
It's something Johnson-Morning didn't imagine for himself after the star athlete dropped out of college a couple of years ago.
“I was just working, didn't know which way I was going left or right,” he said. “I didn't have a straight path. The only thing I had was God. So I kept talking to Him, praying to Him, saying, ‘Show me the way.’”
Johnson-Morning made his way to Charlotte where he began classes at Central Piedmont Community College and was connected to Men Who Care Global through a Goodwill job-training program.
Men Who Care Global started in Charlotte in 2011 to provide mentoring, counseling and workforce development training to African-American young men and boys. Executive Director Victor Earl is Johnson-Morning's job coach.
"It's like a dream for him and a dream for us to actually see a young man come from not quite knowing what to do to becoming a grounded and self-sufficient young man," Earl said.
Men Who Care Global is now in talks with the White House to join President Barack Obama's My Brother's Keeper initiative, which aims to build a national network to support disadvantaged minority boys and young men. Earl is proud that mission is already underway is Charlotte.
"You can't keep telling these young men to just say no without giving them something to say yes to," Earl said.
Johnson-Morning will graduate from CPCC in December with a degree in project management and said company has promised to have a position waiting for him in that area.