Mansur Buffins has always had a passion for inspiring young people to get excited about their educations, and this is what he does every week with 20 boys at Clarke Middle School through the Young Black Kings (YBK) mentorship program, which he created. The social studies education and African American studies double major started the program in 2015 after mentoring a seventh grade student who was experiencing challenges in school. Mansur went to school with his mentee and sat through one of his classes, during which he witnessed many of the African-American boys in the class being sent to the principal’s office. He was upset by the situation and decided he wanted to do something about it.
“Being a Young Black King creates a sense of pride in oneself, and that is something I want for the kings that I work with,” Mansur said.
This situation he observed in the classroom drove him to the UGA Library, where he read books about mentorship and best practices for teaching black and underprivileged youth. He then reached out to his African American studies Professor Darren Rhym about launching a local mentoring program. After a few months of planning with the principal and counselor of Clark Middle School, the program was up-and-running through the school’s after-school program.
“I want to be a positive influence in their lives and a resource for them on their journey to success,” Mansur said. “To me, working with the kids means supporting them, guiding them, advocating for them, listening to them and providing them with a space to express themselves in a constructive manner.”