Voices Of The Community: Mentoring Through Media

WWJ News
August 11, 2020 - 2:30 pm

Welcome to “Voices of the Community” ….with Lloyd Jackson. Today Lloyd spoke with Detroiter Marquise Herring, who not only is a traffic producer here at WWJ Newsradio 950 but also the founder of a mentoring program called “Mentoring through Media”. The program was started back in 2009 at Youthville Detroit that mentored through the teaching of broadcasting. Marquise found that most of the kids were not really interested in the broadcasting end of it, they wanted to come and talk out their issues and get some direction in their lives.

It is a story of poverty, single parent upbringing and faith that turns into a great story of love, promise and leadership.

Marquise, who has been a traffic producer at WWJ Newsradio 950 for the past three years, talked to me about days when it was so great for him growing up. His father was not in the home, but he was raised in love by a praying mother in poverty. He talked about working as a cook for a fast food restaurant growing up and saving up enough money to buy his first car.. a 1988 Astro Van that he picked up in Canada for $400. He has a secret talent of singing and is a lover of Coney Island wings with chili cheese fries on the side.

Marquise says when he was in high school it was his teacher/mentor Mr. Owens that really made a difference. He says Mr. Owens filled the void left in his life left by not having his father around. Marquise says he wanted to carry on Mr. Owens’ legacy. Marquise also uses what he has learned mentoring youth by being a basketball coach in PAL (Police Athletic League).

Marquise says there is a bigger picture for him when it comes to mentoring and coaching young men. He wants to build character in these young men and expose them to a different environment than what many of them have grown up in. Sports help instill dignity and healthy competitiveness that these young men can take with them through life.

Marquise has seen the affect his mentoring has had on the mentees who have come through the program. He says many are husbands and fathers, working to take care of their families and they come back and talk to the current mentees to show them that they can be whatever they want to be and make it as a productive person In this society.

The City of Detroit is ultimately the benefactor of his mentoring program according to Marquise. The young men can learn healthy ways to interact and reason with each other and open up and talk about their problems. He says it reduces crime and poverty and helps the young men see things in a different light. One example Marquise says is a graduate of his program in 2012 who was raised in poverty, single parent home but is now married with a family and a Detroit Police Officer rising up the ranks, something he would not have seen himself becoming 8 short years ago.

Marquise says Detroit means everything to him. It is his home, where he grew up and was taught to be an overcomer. He says it is a working-class city where people go to work everyday and take care of their responsibilities.

In the midst of the demonstrations and protest in the wake of the murder of George Floyd all across the country including here in Detroit, Marquise believes there still can be unity in Detroit when we can lead from a place of empathy and make people feel included no matter what their educational or financial situation is.

Marquise says Blacks in Detroit also need a bigger piece of the pie when it comes to help to start small businesses. He says there needs to be more of us behind the counter rather than just consumers.

Marquise says he would take a visitor to Detroit to the Motown Museum because Motown music is such a big part of the makeup and culture of this town. But if it were a younger person, he would add the downtown Detroit area and the city’s nightlife.

Marquise says there is a big misconception that the city of Detroit is not a good place. He says yes, we have crime and other issues like many other cities across the country, but the vast majority of the Detroit community are hardworking people that care about their community and love their family.

If you know of a Voice in the Community that needs to be heard please reach out to Lloyd Jackson at voicesinthecommunity@wwjnewsradio.com