The major initiative of the Juanita Sims Doty Foundation is the Ambassadors of the Evers Academy for African American Males (A-TEAAM) mentorship, character and leadership development program. The A-TEAAM inspires young males of color in middle school and beyond to honor the life and live the legacy of Medgar Evers as they interact with a “village” of role models and mentors. This ‘village’ of mentors provides support and one-on-one guidance utilizing a meaningful curriculum to empower these young men as they matriculate through middle school. The purpose of the A-TEAAM movement is to improve the quality of life for young men by equipping them with the necessary skills, knowledge, and support provided by caring mentors. The objective of the A-TEAAM is to assist the young males (called Ambassadors in the program) in making internal changes with an outcome of increased positive self-esteem and overall improvement in the way they view the world. The Medgar & Myrlie Evers Institute has partnered with the JSD Foundation to implement the A-TEAAM Initiative.
What began as a pilot program in two middle schools has now become a National Mentoring Program. The Medgar & Myrlie Evers Institute and the Juanita Sims Doty Foundation have partnered with the Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc., a national service organization with aligned goals and values and who has 109 chapters across the United States. This partnership was launched during the TLOD 50th Anniversary celebration in Houston, TX in October 2014. A-TEAAM TLOD Sites are in Houston, TX (3 sites), Cincinnati, OH, East St. Louis, IL, Chicago, IL (2 sites), San Antonio, TX (2 sites) and Raleigh, N.C. TLOD anticipates expanding their sites in other states.
The objectives of the TLOD/A-TEAAM are to:
- Increase the confidence of the male students
- Assist in more effective communication
- Increase self-esteem: For young man who attends 6-8 of the 8 sessions will be more knowledgeable of how to address day to day issues.
- Observe a difference in the way the young males carry themselves (i.e. increased eye contact, smiling, and increased voice projection).
- Have at least 85% of the participants have a heightened sense of confidence and self-esteem, enabling them to compete with cohorts inside and outside of school.
The central and most meaningful activities during this program are the sessions and time spent mentoring the Ambassadors. A minimum of 12 mentoring sessions should be provided during the year. The consistent message that is shared with each male by the mentor is outlined for every session in a curriculum/toolkit. The character development traits and curriculum messages are:
Racial Healing and Racial Equity/Justice
- Racial Healing and Racial Equity/Respect
- Responsibility/ Community and Civic Engagement
- Anti-Bullying/ Courage
- Compose learnings into creative piece
- Perform creative piece
- Health Component
- Etiquette Session