Its organizers, led by former St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington, include leaders in the business, civic, faith and black communities.
Last month, a day after he
turned over the reins of the St. Paul
Police Department to Chief Tom Smith, Harrington
accepted the post of president/CEO of Ujamaa Place
Organizers hope to raise $1 million by the end of 2011 to keep Ujamaa Place
going for the next three years.
Their plan is to graduate 400 young men each year, Harrington
"Social service agencies oftentimes don't want these kids," Harrington
"They're hostile, they're sometimes felons, oftentimes have a history of violence, they've got not-great social skills."
Participants will stay in the program from four to eight months, during which they'll develop a relationship with a coach/mentor, possibly the first positive male role model they've ever had, Harrington
said the program has the potential to significantly reduce violent crime in St. Paul
"In 2005-06, 70 percent of our homicides were young black men; 70 percent of my aggravated assaults," he
"In a city where the population of young black men is 10 percent, young black men were the highest demographic for being victims of violent crime.
"Reducing the number of victims is what I'm passionate about," he
Following his outstanding career with the St. Paul Police Department, most recently as Chief, Mr. Harrington will serve as the President and CEO of Ujamaa Place.