Bucks stars help out at local mentoring forum

Posted at 10:34 PM, Jan 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-14 23:44:28-05

A member of President Obama's team met with community leaders in Milwaukee for a mentoring forum at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

Milwaukee was the chosen destination because It's one of the cities where young men of color are most in need of guidance and opportunity.

President Obama is turning his "My Brother's Keeper" mentoring initiative into an outside alliance that will live on after his presidency. To do that, he's recruiting private donors, and working with a variety of organizations, like the Milwaukee Bucks.

Bucks legends Marques Johnson and Bob Lanier, along with the team's current standout, Giannis Antetokoumpo, were the stars in attendance.

City and county leaders shared in the spotlight. But it was Romeo Thompson and Dusty Weis who stole the show.

"Having him as my little brother makes me want to be the best man that I can be," Dusty says.

"If something bad at home happens, or there's something stressing me out at school, I can come to Dusty and talk to him," 15-year-old Romeo says. "He gives me a lot of good advice. He tells me right from wrong, and helps me know what I should be doing."

They're the perfect example of what this forum at the Bradley Center is all about. It was led by Broderic Johnson, Assistant to President Obama and Cabinet Secretary.

"We can't let these children slip through the cracks," he said. "They are the future. We have to take care of them and invest in them."

The goal is to make sure all local kids have someone positive to look up to.

"We are committed to making sure that every student in Milwaukee Public Schools is tied to an adult role model," added Dr. Darienne Driver, the Superintendent of MPS. "Every child deserves and needs a mentor."

Outside organizations like Big Brothers, Big Sisters will help. Romeo and Dusty met through the program, which currently has 500 kids on a waiting list.

"There are so many kids who need a positive adult example in their lives," Dusty says. "You don't have to be perfect, you just have to be there for a kid."

With the help of the Bucks and local organizations, there will be a big effort in recruiting more adult mentors and matching them with local kids.