DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) — Theodore Fisher has dreams of working as an architectural engineer.
The MacArthur senior has loads of smarts, but it's the life skills that set him apart — life skills learned under the mentoring of Caring Black Men.
"It's taught me to be more of man," Fisher said. "Don't be a follower. Stand out!"
The mentors come from a variety of backgrounds. Al Williams worked for Tate & Lyle for years before coming to the program as a mentor in retirement.
"We believe it's really important to have good character," Williams said. "We talk about being trustworthy. We talk about being a good citizen."
The group's founder and president, Jeffrey Perkins recruited Williams soon after his retirement. Perkins and his team of mentors guide kids from elementary school through high school, touring Decatur Public Schools.
The groups meet with each set of kids once a week, imparting life lessons and making sure no one falls through the cracks.
"It shows that they care about us," said MacArthur sophomore Theo DeLong. "It shows that they care about how we go about life."
That message of caring should really come as no surprise — it's in the name after all. But that message has particularly resonated with Fisher as he works closer to graduation.
"This is high school — you only get four years and when you get out of here, you're facing real life," he said.
That message on real life: you too can be successful if you work hard, dream big and stand out.
"You can be whatever you want to be in life," Fisher said. "I've seen it. I can do it now."
For more information on Caring Black Men, click here.