Meet James Dixon III & Toryan Jones, 18 year-olds ready to change the world with “my dream.”
James Dixon III and Toryan Jones, Co-founders of “My Dream,” a mentorship program for African-American males between the ages of 13-18, designed to help transform boys to young men through education, encouragement, and empowerment.
While other young men their ages are at home playing the latest 2K, James & Toryan, is gearing up to change the world for others like them. So—of course we had to bring them down to the lounge for a conversation with Indaria Jones.
You’ve decided to start a mentorship program for young men like you, basically for the culture. How do you feel?
Why this program? What made you want to change the world you live in? You do realize that’s what you’re doing, right? Changing the world.
James: I’ve want to give young males in the urban areas the opportunity that I didn’t have growing up. I didn’t have a lot of guidance when I was growing up or someone I could look up to as a role model. There are not many young men like myself who want to help break the cycle of our young men falling off track and slipping into the streets. Why not go out and start something positive and lead by example? If these young men see me doing something great in the community at a young age, they will soon follow. I believe by me committing to these kids and taking my time to get to know them, I can better their future and turn their lives around.
Toryan: I know how it is to grow up around a bad environment I grew up in a low income area so I really didn’t have many of the opportunities I have now. I just want to set an example for the young men who may be headed down the wrong path. I feel I can relate to most of the kids in the Syracuse area because I was in their shoes once. I want to be somebody the kids can look up to and realize it’s possible to not become a statistic or a product of their environment. I want to change the world I live in because I believe if the younger generation has somebody that’s going to guide them and make sure they stay on the right path they can experience success. Also, I do realize what I’m doing and I’m prepared to task on this task. Me and James are ready to bring something positive to this community and it starts with the youth. This community needs something like this we are looking to set examples and mature the young men into men.
How do you plan to help solve some of the issues most young men are facing?
James: Some of the issues right now that young men, specifically of color, are facing are lack of role models or male figures in their life, no motivation & being around the wrong crowd. I’m publicly putting out there now that I want to be a mentor for young men and that I’m here to motivate them to do better and to be better. I want them to realize that they are going to be more than just a statistic in life. They can be anything in life that they want to be by just simply following my lead. Although I cannot fill in the spot of being someone’s father but I can teach them life skills like how to tie a tie, how to shake someone’s hand properly, how to speak properly and articulate their words.
Toryan: I plan on teaching the young men that there’s more to life than just being a statistic. Me and James are going to make sure they stay on top of their schoolwork and check on them every week. If we have success with this program we plan on taking the young men on college visits and to do things they’ve never done before. I want them to know that you can find success trying new things. My goal is to create leaders and not followers.
What’s next for you guys? What are your plans for the future? Any career goals?
James: I am currently a Freshman at SUNY Oswego and I’m majoring in Adolescent Education (7-12) with a concentration in English. I aspire to be a a teacher and to help raise the percentage of black male teachers in the district. I also aspire to be the Superintendent of The Syracuse City School District one day.
Toryan: I plan on attending college during the spring semester and going to school to major in sports management. My plan for the future is to bring something positive into this community. Who knows maybe this program can turn into something bigger for us. I want to become a mentor that helps young athletes with college decisions.
Wow, I am so inspired and happy for the both of you guys. Thank you!
Want to get involved or meet these guys in person? Pull up 11am Saturday, September 20 at the Creators Lounge, 2223 S Salina Street, Syracuse, New York, 13205. Sponsored by our member, Tenekqua Cauthen & The Out Crowd.