The place of men: mentoring, agriculture and social justice

CHARLOTTE, NC – Right in the heart of Charlotte, just past Fred Alexander Park, stands a strong tribe, rooted in their roots, unified and dedicated to changing the lives of Charlotte’s black youth.

With a commitment to expanding young minds, The Males Place continues to be one of Charlotte’s deepest nonprofits.

BaBa Leader Reggie Singleton and his Board of Directors work diligently to better the community and youth through life-changing mentorship.

Since 1993, The Males Place has evolved, making its program one of the largest mentoring organizations in North Carolina. The multicultural organization has mentored over 3,000 young people through practices that highlight and implement self-awareness.

The program’s mission is to focus the attention of young people, African American boys ages 12-18, on community and civic engagement by providing comprehensive, prevention-based behavioral health programs.

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The love and support that surrounds the fellowship runs deep as each member’s efforts and the bond between them can be seen at first glance.

“I heard of the place of the male from Mshauri AJ Simmons, said a frequent visitor to the organization, the bond and respect among the group of men I met was incredible. I had never witnessed such deeply bonded black male brotherhood before.

The organization dedicates specific time to planning, planting and preparing a community garden on Charlotte’s Westside. The boys are an integral part of the community as they provide free fresh vegetables to local neighborhoods that do not have access to fresh produce.

The energy poured into each part of the garden parallels the energy poured into themselves, explains Baba Reggie. The organization aims to link the art of cultivating a garden to that of oneself.

The Male’s Place is balanced by three pillars, mentorship, agriculture and social justice.

As you enter the gardens of The Males Place you will be greeted by the djembe, one of West Africa’s best-known instruments. The speakers also play classic hip hop and R&B tunes that the brotherhood sing together and sitting in the middle of the garden is the most sacred room, the cobalt blue bottle tree. The tradition is linked to African culture.

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Bottle trees are used to capture evil spirits, and at sunrise they are destroyed.

“The Bottle Tree offers protection against negative energy while healing spiritual energy and blessing the garden, said Baba Reggie

“Nine bottles hang at an angle from The Male’s Place bottle tree, they represent the 9 lives lost in the Charleston shooting.”

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The Male’s Place is the realm of deeper meaning around every corner.

Surrounding the tree is a variety of fresh organic fruits and vegetables including blueberries, tomatoes, mixed greens, squash and many more.

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Every Saturday, Males Place members learn land preparation, maintenance, techniques as well as harvesting and distribution techniques for the real world.

Young people spend time learning about the culture and learning valuable life skills through panel discussions and workshops when they are not in the garden.

The entity of the organization defends the young men who feed their connection to community and brotherhood, as well as to mind, body and soul.

Join the community:

For more information on Males Place or to join the community, click here.

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Events to come:

Rosa Parks Farmer’s Market

Every Saturday from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. until September 27.

Location: Ophelia Brown Center 2647 Freedom Dr.

About Bernice Dyer

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