JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- An initiative launched at the White House Thursday by President Barack Obama is preaching the same message that Jacksonville's Save Our Sons has been trying to spread since its formation less than a year ago.
President Barack Obama got personal at the White House, telling young minority boys in attendance in the East Room that he was much like many of them, growing up without a father. He said he was angry about it, but didn't realize it.
"I made bad choices, I got high without always thinking about the harm that it could do, I did not always take school as serious as I should have. I made excuses, sometimes I sold myself short."
The President's initiative called "My Brother's Keeper" will work with businesses, philanthropists and government leaders. It is designed to help keep young men in school and out of the criminal justice system.
Jacksonville Pastor John Guns, founder of Save Our Sons, has been talking that talk for months to young men in the city and was glad to see the President pushing the message forward.
"I am excited, slightly apprehensive because I don't want it to get caught up in politics. But I think it is necessary, I think it is needed. I think that if one group is below every other group or appears to be, the only way we make this a country for all is we created opportunities for all," Guns said.
The President's initiative hopes to improve access to higher education and make pathways to success.
"School readiness is vital. Academic performance is vital, being able to manage life and live in your own skin, not make any excuses," said Guns. "Become accountable for your own life, these are messages and themes we are pushing in Operation Save our Sons, and I am excited that our President is pushing it, not only in policy but in personality. He is the embodiment of what this country can produce when every person is given every opportunity."
Foundations are expected to donate $200 million dollars in the next five years to support groups who promote the cause. Guns is hoping Save Our Sons can participate in the process and get some funding so the group can do even bigger and better things in the community.
Save our Sons supports summits for young men, mentoring of young people., and programs for young fathers.