Members of 100 Black Men of Charleston encourage Mary Ford students on first day of school

Published: Aug. 15, 2016 at 4:53 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 15, 2016 at 5:26 PM EDT
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NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) - Five members of the 100 Black Men of Charleston chapter greeted nearly all the students of Mary Ford Elementary in North Charleston with firm handshakes, high fives and hugs Monday morning.

"We're just here for the kids," Tory Fields said. "We want to encourage the children to get a good year started off."
The men came prepared with pencils, advice a resonating messages. "We tell them how nice they look. Telling young boys to tuck their shirts in and pull up their pants, put their belts on," Fields said.
The goal of 100 Black Men of Charleston is to inspire and improve quality of life for future generations.

Barney Blakeney, of North Charleston, has made investing his time in his community a mission. Blakeney said, "our group came to impact the homicide rate within the community. One of the best ways to do that is start with the young ones."
Mary Ford Elementary principal Melesia Walden watched on as the men, students and parents interacted.

"That's what we were looking for. We were looking for the positivity and the change and just the excitement because learning should be exciting."
Fields says they will continue to greet and work with students throughout the year.

"I hope that other brothers see us and say hey we can do the same thing. We want next year every school a group of brothers greeting the children," he said.

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