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August 31, 2014, 12:23 am

Concerned Black Men volunteer at Birney elementary

Concerned Black Men board member James Newton said that the non-profit youth mentoring organization has a strong reason when it adopts a school. The West Oak Lane based group has been bringing in volunteers to work with the middle school boys at the David Birney Elementary School in Logan this past school year. The reason is because they heard it was a “turnaround” school and wanted to help turn it around.

Newton admitted it seemed to be daunting task as the experienced volunteers, some of whom are retired police officers, entered the school at 900 W. Lindley Ave. The school already had a reputation for being “tough school.” Though the group was founded turning around gang members, this was a unique challenge for CBM.

“The reason we wanted to be there is because we were impressed by the principal Dr. Bernard James,” said Newton. “Some schools have problems but don’t want anyone in there. They are afraid that you will see their problems and that will let them look bad.

“I think a stronger approach is to admit you have problems. Then you can ask for help. CBM is one group that is willing to help. We have been working with middle school boys for many years with our chess program, our mentoring program and other programs. We give out scholarships to high school students, but we’ve even given some middle school students college scholarships,” Newton said.

Newton said he hoped that CBM could be of service to the Birney School for years to come. CBM has adopted other Philadelphia School District middle schools over the years. For more information about CBM call 215-276-2260 or visit their website at