• While serving on the Miami-Dade County School Board, Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson noticed a pattern of young minority young men being incarcerated, entering the drug trade, or dropping out of school.

    Congresswoman Wilson began to challenge the men of Miami-Dade County to intervene in the lives of minority male youth. Thus, in March 1993, initiated by the Miami-Dade County School Board, the 500 African American Male Role Models of Excellence was born. Wilson’s vision gained an immediate response from the community and continues to serve as a major force in the transition of raising young boys into manhood. In 1994 the name was converted to the 500 Role Models of Excellence Project. Due to the increased enrollment of mentors and students, it is now recognized as the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project.

    During the 2015-2016 school year, the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project was initiated in Duval County Public Schools. Currently we have 31 sites that includes elementary, middle, and high schools. 

    The 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project will recruit 500 community mentors over a 10-year period (5000 mentors nationally) to serve as role models for young African American males. The students identified to participate in the program will benefit from various academic and behavioral supports. Young men from grades 3 - 12 will participate in various cultural and educational experiences such as visits to college campuses, etiquette workshops, and career building training. Students will also serve as ambassadors for the program and the school district throughout the City of Jacksonville. Each school has a 5000 Role Models of Excellence Site Director who serves as club sponsors to facilitate speakers, field trips, and assist in mentor recruitment.

    Expected outcomes include development of character and leadership ability, increased public speaking skills, improved academic performance, reduced truancy, fewer referrals and suspensions, and increased pathways to success through mentoring and diverse experiences.