It has been my honor to serve as city manager for the past year and a half. During this time, our community has experienced everything from a devastating tornado to impressive sporting events to major industry announcements.

Organizationally, we’ve had great successes with awards and national recognition, while at the same time losing employees and loved ones. Needless to say, I have experienced times of great joy and sadness.

My role as city manager has reaffirmed the love I have for this community — the entire community. From Florida Street to Friendly Avenue. From Gillespie Park to Griffin Recreation Center.

Recently, violent crime in our city has been making headlines, which is most troubling because this impacts our entire community.

All residents who call Greensboro home shouldn’t have to fear violent acts, either in their front yard, neighborhood or at their place of business. For some, this is a constant threat that alters quality of life and affects future generations.

Personally, I have been burdened with the thought of what can I do — how can I make a difference and influence positive change?

I have been led to this thought: Mentor. If we come along side our younger generation and simply be present and have influence, it could make a difference. It will impact a generation.

I am asking 100 men to partner with me as 100 Mentors. Think about it: If 100 men would be willing to engage with 100 boys, by introducing them to the host of enriching activities available through our libraries, recreation centers and community agencies, or better yet ask them where they want to attend college — what a difference this could make.

If this invitation appeals to you, please consider joining me for a mentoring event Thursday. Several community agencies will be on hand to showcase their mentoring opportunities.

This may not stop the next violent act, but this investment will return results. These results could change a life, could change a generation and could even change our community. Will you join me in accepting this challenge by saying yes to being a mentor in 2020?

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The writer is Greensboro’s city manager.

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