In looking at the history of the educational system and the challenges it faces in the Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) area, it is evident that problems inside and outside the school environment have had a negative effect on some students, which has negatively affected their ability to make good decisions. These conditions make them vulnerable to ridicule, ostracized by peers and in some cases, causes long term negative consequences. As a result of these issues, our society is facing a number of discipline issues that have negatively impacted students and teachers, not only in the DFW area, but across our Nation.
The men of UMOJA have provided services to the DFW school system since 1994. UMOJA has stepped up and accepted the challenge to provide guidance to young men and women by offering alternatives for making better decisions and choices through the school intervention programs they offer.
Organizational History and Uniqueness
UMOJA was formed in 1994 and during the first year, the focus and concentration was working with gangs and very distressed children that could not function in a normal classroom environment. Now, UMOJA pride itself in working with three types of children, and these children then forge relationships:
· Natural Leaders
· Trouble Children
· Children that fall between both of these categories
Through this process, the children get a better understanding that all children share like experiences and situations, just on different levels based on religious or socio-economic conditions.
UMOJA's experience in dealing with children and young adults is varied. The members of the organization have vast amounts of experiences ranging from police officers, advocates, intervention specialists, ministers, business owners, etc.
UMOJA has many years of experience among its membership that range from five years to 25 years in working with youth of all ethnicities.
Background and Scope
In mid 1994, several African-American men jointly set out to make a difference in the city of Fort Worth, as well as in the black communities.
They formed a group called UMOJA, which means UNITY. UMOJA's goals was to take the young boys and girls in the community and mentor them in order to achieve the highest quality of education and professional careers. In addition, teach the boys and girls to become men and women of good standing in their communities. Since its inception, UMOJA has become inclusive, promoting their programs to all boys and girls despite ethnicity.
The organization is unique because there are no paid staff members, with the exception of site directors. UMOJA shares in the responsibilities and enjoys rehabilitating these children. UMOJA now has 20 members in the organization. Each site director has extensive experience working with students that exhibit behavioral problems.