Building Better Men in need of Virtual Reading Room mentors

Fox 2

A local organization is sending out the call for members of the community to step up as mentors for the young men enrolled in their virtual reading room sessions.

“With everything going on we wanted to stay engaged with our young men,” said Odis Bellinger.

“Reading has to be a continuous movement,” he said.

Bellinger’s group Building Better Men has hundreds of kids interested in their virtual reading room. They’re enrolling 15 to 20 young men in each session then conducting Zoom sessions to talk about the books they’re assigned.

“They have to tell us what the book was about – question and answer period and then they have to send us a 150-word essay on each chapter,” Bellinger said.

They’re looking for additional mentors to help conduct the Zoom labs so that they can enroll more students. They also need donations to purchase books that they are sending electronically but want to send hard copies to the kids as well.

“I want to help males – m-a-l-e-s – grow to be men of integrity – that’s what I do,” said author Baron Warren.

The students are currently reading his book Five Steps to Manhood.

“When I read the chapter it showed that you have to take care of what’s coming to you – show integrity,” said student Damien Johnson.

They’re not only reading lessons but life lessons. Bellinger says they’re also working on a parent portal to help parents help their children with their schoolwork while the schools are closed.

“I’m a parent of a 12 year old and I have two college degrees but if she brings home that math – there’s a different type of math right now,” Bellinger said.

It’s all part of adjusting to this new normal, where once they easily gathered together with mentors. Bellinger wants them to know they still can.

“Some people are just one piece of information away from being able to achieve their goals or dreams or aspirations so we just want to use our virtual platform to help,” he said.

To volunteer, call Odis Bellinger at (313) 772-0110. Visit for more information about the organization.