While Jamon Morgan works full days managing a neighborhood transitional housing program, he also spends many Friday nights running special events for Anchorage teens at the Mountain View Boys & Girls Club.
“I got into a little trouble when I was a teenager, and kinda got into my early 20s,” he said Friday, surrounded by kids in the Boys & Girls Club lobby.
As he grew older, Morgan said he noticed a lack of mentors; the kind kids could really relate too. Teens were getting their life lessons from other places.
“These kids are getting raised by music, they’re getting raised by technology and they’re not really going out into the community, and there’re not a lot of men like Mr. C (assistant club manager Carnard Davis) or Mr. Barney (club manager Dave Barney) out there mentoring them; When they see them on the corner, telling them, ‘Hey, you need to go to school,’ or, ‘What’re you doing out here?'” Morgan said. “I saw a void, I saw a gap, and … I felt like I was called to fill it.”
Friday’s event included live performances from local rappers Andre “Blaack” Williams and Anthony Russell. Morgan said it’s a way to connect with teens and spread a message of empowerment and positive growth.
“Maybe this is not something that they’re hearing at the house,” he said. “Maybe it’s not something they’re hearing at school or just around the people that they’re normally around.”
Morgan’s program — a non-profit called New Direction AK — has hosted the No Fear of Success teen networking nights at the Mountain View Boys & Girls Club for several months now. They involve food, music and a message, and they usually draw a crowd.
“My message is to let kids know that they were not designed with the spirit of fear; that they have what it takes to be successful,” Morgan said.
“I know I’m making an impact.”