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Serving Their Community: Men on the Block’s Story
Lorenza Ross serves as a JROTC instructor at Bryan County High School, and is part of an ad-hoc group of men who call themselves Men on the Block. These men have a radio show to help men understand the positive impact they can make in their community, and they too get out and make their own impact.
Without a specific plan or idea, they did know they wanted to work with a reputable organization. Retired military in the group knew of United Way’s work helping service members, and coaches of the group saw what United Way was currently doing for youth and families.
“We wanted to be sure our efforts would be put to the best use. We didn’t want to get involved with just anyone. The respectability of United Way was important to us,” said Ross.
The group turned to United Way of the Coastal Empire and asked, “What can we do to help?”
A local family experienced a tragedy and needed clothing and food. The Men on the Block responded immediately and were eager to do more.
“There are 14 of us. We love God, love people, we are from all races and backgrounds, different ages, different occupations,” Ross explains.
Additional families in crisis were helped by the group, and their many talents and skills allow them to respond to a broad range of needs. There are donations of food, and clothing, but the group has also helped people secure vehicles, repair their cars, help in homes, and will do whatever else they are able to do. They even have a youth program planned out for the future.
The kind of help Ross and the Men on the Block can deliver is a reason United Way’s Community Fund is so important. The men in the group also fundraise for the Community Fund knowing that their efforts multiply the impact in the community.
The men keep each other alerted when a family in need is identified and all work together. Ross stresses this point, even as he is getting text messages from the group.
“It’s all of us, we all contribute. I’m here talking about this now, and some of the guys say I’m the leader, but it’s not about me. All of the men in our group do so much to help people and build our community,” Ross said. “We respect the United Way name and it motivates us to do our best.”
Lorenza Ross and Men on the Block began as a group of men who simply wanted to help out and improve their community. Now, more than a year later, they are a reliable partner with United Way and the Community Fund, reaching out and helping people in ways many would never expect. The example they set and the work they do moves their community Forward United.