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    NCCU alumnus and Durham native DeWarren Languley (far right), stands with members of The Young Men of Excellence Program, a program that provides young African-American boys with the skills, knowledge, and experiences for college readiness and career preparation. Photo Courtesy of Christopher Amadasun.

NCCU alumnus creates program to mentor young African-American boys in Durham

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A program at North Carolina Central University, founded by an NCCU alumnus, seeks to engage and support the Durham community.

The Young Men of Excellence Program, led by the Charles Hamilton Houston Foundation, Inc, works to motivate and guide young boys of color to acquire the skills, knowledge, and experiences to ensure success in college readiness and career preparation.

The program is held on the first and third Saturday of each month in partnership with the Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc., Legally Inspired College Cohorts of Students and NCCU School of Law.

DeWarren Langley is the executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Foundation in Durham and visionary behind the YMOEP.

Langley is a NCCU alumnus and Durham native.

The Charles Hamilton Houston Foundation, Inc.  is a nonprofit that “provides a continuum of programs, services and mentorship to educate, engage, empower and equip young men of color with the strategies they need to secure socioeconomic success by transforming academic policies and connecting them with professional opportunities to become high-results leaders.”

His love for evoking change and growth in Durham started very early in his life and has continued throughout his years.

During his three years at NCCU School of Law, he served in various leadership positions such as the President of the Black Law Students Association, Secretary of Future Lawyers for Community Advancement, Vice President of the Constitutional Law & Civil Rights Society, and served as Coordinator of the Pre-Law Program of the Black Law Students Association.

Langley volunteered a record 800 hours in law-related mentoring and youth education programs, several of which he helped initiate.

As a result of his service, he has received several awards by NCCU School of Law and the NC State Bar Association for his contributions of mentoring youth.

“I focus on optimizing black male academic and professional success through intensive one-on-one mentoring and high-quality programs focused on retention, matriculation, graduation, career pathway planning, skill and experience acquisition and career-oriented employment,” Langley said.

He explained that there is an overwhelming need for more engagement within the black community for career preparation.

“In 2017-2018, 39.3% of black students met the minimum grade level proficiency and 28.9% of black students meet college and career ready standards according to Durham Public Schools which was the lowest rate of any race demographic,” Langley said.

“The data amplifies the need for high quality, well-structured and measurable outcome driven programs to provide supportive programming and services to strengthen academic performance and college and career readiness to ensure boys of color are aligning their academic journey to acquire the skills and experience to meet the demands of the workforce or entrepreneurial endeavors,” he added.

Langley said that he can continuously promote growth among the young boys and men of color he interacts with, and seeks to serve as a “strategic partner with colleges and universities in developing the talent for the growing and emerging economy to ensure young boys and men of color are educated and equipped to have the skills, knowledge and experience necessary to lead and grow profitable ventures.”

Deion Doubledee, the Director of Programs & Operations for the Foundation and Operation Analyst at Wells Fargo emphasized, “our key objective is career exploration and (to) expose the boys to the many options the world has to offer.”

The program welcomes male college students with at least a 2.5 grade point average to serve as college prep coaches who will motivate young boys to attend and thrive in college.

Each member of the organization must commit to attending monthly YMOEP sessions.