Ujima House helps young men reach potential

At a home near 1st and Meinecke in Milwaukee, there's a staff devoted to lifting young men. The mission?

"Educate, engage and empower," said Executive Director Jermaine Reed.  

The home is a shelter for young men ages 12 -17. Many have been removed from their homes. Often they are transitioning out of foster care. Most of the young men have faced trauma. 

But they can escape some of that at Ujima House. It's nicely appointed with separate bedrooms and a warm and inviting living area.

Reed said, "I know what it's like to grow up in an environment where there's drugs in the home, I know what its like to be fatherless. I know what its like not to have role models that are positive in your life."

The Ujima House is meant to inspire youth. Rooms are named after notable men, nationally and locally. Men like the late media icon Eric Von, Doctor Martin Luther King, Civil Rights Activist Father James Groppi, and President Barack Obama.

"What we want the youth to know is there are people who really care and will look out for your best interest whether that is tough love or the soft caring empathy or understudying of the problems that they do come with," shares Unit Supervisor Anthony Whorton. "This is our village. Each one teach one reach one!"

There's African themed artwork throughout the home and even a workout area to relieve stress. 

Employees home the Ujima House gives clients better understanding of their heritage and the positive role models will inspire them to stay clear of trouble.

Reed said, "They are our children. We don't have the pleasure, we are not afforded the privilege of just disowning them.  I certainly cannot say not in our back yard, because our backyard is their backyard."

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