Kevin Hallums' '101 Men of Hope'

Special to Informer | 3/14/2012, 2:33 p.m.

Ghandi once said, "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." Sometimes, with the fast-paced lives we all live, it's easy to forget that the world doesn't end or begin at our doorsteps. There's a big world out there and it's our duty to contribute to it, positively, by helping others. "101 Men of Hope" is an event created to promote volunteerism by encouraging men to get involved in community service through mentoring Washington metropolitan area youth.

A veteran educator in the Washington, D.C., area, Kevin Hallums created "101 Men of Hope" after becoming frustrated with the lack of male involvement in his school. Instead of just talking about it, he did something about it and challenged his friends and Twitter followers to volunteer one day of service. The inaugural event, at Imagine Hope Community Charter School in November 2009, was a tremendous success, and led to a sister event, "101 Women of Hope" in 2010 and 2011. Hoping to build on past successes, "101 Men of Hope" is scheduled to take place Friday, March 23, 2012 at Oxon Hill Middle School, in Fort Washington, MD.

John Richards: Introduce yourself...

Kevin Hallums: My name is Kevin Hallums, a/k/a "Uncle Scooty", Dean of Students at Washington Latin Public Charter School (Upshur Campus) and also, I guess, the creative mind behind 101 Men of Hope and 101 Women of Hope a/k/a Project 101

JR: What is 101 Men of Hope?

Kevin Hallums: 101 Men of Hope is a one-day community-initiative project that started in 2009 at Imagine Hope Community Charter School, that's where the "hope" portion came into play. At the time, when we started in 2009, I was the Discipline Coordinator, and also the positive character development coordinator at Imagine Hope Community Charter School. Imagine Hope Community Charter School just happens to be in between the two neighborhoods that I grew up in; Uptown NW DC and Langdon Park NE DC. One day a friend of mine was having some issues with her son at the school, I had to call her, to come pick him up. When she came to get him, she basically was like, "...you know, he needs you" I was like, what does that mean? I can't be a father to everybody. Basically, he's a little kid with a young mother, no father figure in his life and that pissed me off a little bit...just because I felt like she had put a lot of responsibility on me. It made me to go to my Twitter page to say that, you know what, you guys that follow me on Twitter, you guys come to the events that I do, whether it was when I was doing my clothing line or you know, whether it's the Rock Creek Social Club thing or whatever. You guys support me you know what I'm saying? I wonder if I can get 100 of you guys to come to my school to volunteer for a day. It was just a rant; I was just expressing my feelings, my frustration. A close friend of mine, Ian "iCan" Callender from the Sneaker Suite, picked up on it, and he was like "Yo we need to really make this happen".