BALTIMORE, MD – Man Tyme is a new organization that ensures young men of color have the knowledge and tools for foundational life skills and avoid life in the streets.
David Harris and his cousin Gabrielle Elsey are the CEO and COO, respectively, for Man Tyme.
“Man Tyme is a way of life,” Harris said. “I was given the tools and knowledge on how to conduct myself in the streets without a father. I was 14 without a positive role model.”
However, Elsey’s father was the positive role model he needed.
He said the tools he learned were self-control, communication and planning.
Harris said whenever he meets young people who need to know these foundational skills, he does it to help them handle adverse situations and prove to them that someone cares about them.
According to the two, Man Tyme is a safe place where grown men mentor young men as young as nine years-old before the streets can take over their lives in a negative way.
Informally, Man Tyme has been in action via phone calls and video calls.
While they are based in Baltimore, they have done work in D.C., Georgia and Virginia.
They have done one-on-one sessions with young men who needed help via video calls and phone calls.
If someone reaches out for help, Harris said they make arrangements to get to the youth in need.
Man Tyme started out when Harris worked in the juvenile justice system. He said a lot of the teenaged boys had no guidance and needed a positive male role model.
He and Elsey have been wanting to do Man Tyme outside of the system, but have not had the opportunity to do an official roll-out.
“We all saw a need and wanted to find a solution,” Elsey said.
She said her dad – unbeknownst to him – has been doing Man Tyme for over 40 years helping young men in the community.
However, Harris and Elsey say Man Tyme is really needed now.
“Why not now?” Elsey stated. “We’ve been putting it off and the streets are getting worse. It’s time for us to be able to provide a safe space for them to go. The recreational centers and other safe spaces have closed down.”
Harris added on:
“It was time when my father died in the earlier part of 2021,” he said. “I was working with the boys in the system and wanted them to see how vulnerable I was at the time. Boys are taught not to cry, don’t show emotion.”
Harris then called his uncle and Elsey and said it was time to start the organization.
They plan to have their first meeting with the young men and the male role models in February 2022. Man Tyme will host quarterly events where they will have workshops, group sessions, food drives, Turkey Bowls (football related) and provide support to families because many of the youth coming through Man Tyme have been raised by single mothers.
Be Integral in ManTyme
Man Tyme’s website has their phone number and email listed for someone who asks for help or knows a young man that needs help. The phone number is to ensure immediate plans can be made to get to the person in need of help.
For situations that are not immediate, in the email they must enter their name, contact information and the situation at hand.
For those who want to be a member of Man Tyme, they can sign up for membership on the website as well. The membership informs them of all upcoming events.
The goal is to ensure that these young men continue to participate in Man Tyme when they are over the age of 18 to mentor the next set of young men.
Areas of Growth
On their website, there is information about the different areas of growth the young men will focus on. A few of them are Leadership, Prayer (as a solid offense) and
Understanding and Sharing Your Feelings (vulnerability).
Elsey said the ideas for these areas of growth came from the different men they talked to. These men voiced what they needed to know or wished they learned at a young age that was pivotal for their growth.
“Prayer is an area of growth where regardless of your religion it is something people are lacking because they don’t depend on faith,” Elsey said.
She said often people go through things alone and want to take situations on themselves and it doesn’t work out.
“As a result, they put so much stress and burden on their body and can’t make the right decisions under that pressure. Prayer is a powerful tool that helps them get through that,” she said.
Harris spoke about the area of growth called Sharing of Feelings reiterating vulnerability.
“It was hard for me to share as a young kid,” he said. “I was always told to be seen, not heard, boys don’t cry, but I had feelings. For a lot of these young men that’s what it is for them, they have feelings but just can’t get it out.”
He said he wants to assure them it does not make them less of a man to express their feelings because once they express it, they will have a different outlook on other things.
“When you express more, you can move past a lot of situations because you’re not harboring it in,” he said.
Elsey said oftentimes in the Black community when someone reaches or obtains great successes, they will not share with others the blueprint on how to do so. She said with Man Tyme she hopes that stops.
“[In the African-American community] We’ll tell you where we get our new sneakers or the best places to buy hair, but when we get the chance to instill and disseminate lasting info to other people, we don’t,” she said. “If at least one of our members can help someone else, I know we did a great move.”
Harris added that while reach one, teach one is a great start – he wants more.
“If I can teach 10 on how to take these tools for a better life and they teach another 10 we’re in a good shape,” he said.
He added on:
“We’re not trying to scare them, but just have them open up and talk because to have so much pressure on you at 13, 14 years-old that’s a lot. That energy is going to come out some type of way and we want to stop it and prevent it before they are locked up or shot.”
For more information on the organization, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.