Boys to Men: EOF Holds Annual Conference for Urban Teens

Montclair State University hosted the fifth annual "Boys to Men" conference Friday, March 18, a program designed to empower and mentor New Jersey urban teens grades 9-11.

Students from more than 20 schools attended the event, with high schools including Eagle Academy of Newark, Academy of Earth and Space Science (Paterson) and James Ferris High School (Jersey City) in attendance. Members of the Abyssinian Baptist Church were also on hand for the half-day program, which featured motivational speaker, Newark, N.J. native and Montclair State alumnus Rahfeal Gordon as its keynote speaker.

"Nationwide, young men of color in institutions of higher education have been declining, and it's alarming," said Daniel Jean, executive director of the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) Program and Academic Development at Montclair State and the event's organizer. "Programs such as this conference, tailored especially for urban teens, have never been more critically needed."

The slate of activities included a panel discussion with alumni of Montclair State's EOF program and actor Ladun Thompson, as well as inspirational remarks from Gordon and current student Dean Mulzac.

"A lot of times in life, you need a major shakeup," said Mulzac. "All it takes is one good thing to change your life. So when those good things come to challenge you and take you to new heights, go with them, and let them change your life."