100 Black Men annual gala is set for tonight

Photo by Carly Farrell

Photo by Carly Farrell

ALBANY, Ga. -- Fresh off being honored as the top chapter in the country in terms of their efforts to advance health and wellness for men throughout the community, the 100 Black Men of Albany will host its annual gala tonight, officials say.

The group -- which is dedicated to mentoring youth, advancing health education, growing economic development and improving education -- is working to raise funds for scholarships for deserving students, Albany Chapter President Sanford Hillsman said.

"Education is one of our primary goals because we know that through education and hard work one can find success," Hillsman said. "The demographics don't don't matter ... it's not about the race crap ... it's about the kids and ensuring that they have the skills necessary to build their own future."

Saturday's gala will help wind down a busy year for the 100.

In addition to their twice-weekly mentoring programs at area schools, the group joined their partners in sponsoring health events in Americus, Albany and Camilla, which included various screenings, health fairs and educational events.

Those events were enough to earn the group "Chapter of the Year" honors from their parent organization, the 100 Black Men of America, for health and wellness outreach.

"There are a lot of wellness issues that face both men and women in the South -- high blood pressure, cholesterol, etc., that need to be checked and, as you know, people just don't go to the doctor unless they have a bone sticking out or they just can't work," Hillsman said. "These screenings and events allow people to take advantage of health professionals in a less formidable environment."

The gala, which is one of the group's largest fundraisers, will also be a platform for honoring sponsors who, Hillsman said, have donated generously, even through a down economy.

"Everyone knows the story with the economy and when you're a 501(c)3 that relies a lot on donations, times have been tough. But thankfully we've had some very generous partners who know the value of what we're trying to do and have stepped up to help us through the tough times," Hillsman said.

For more information about the 100 Black Men of Albany, go to www.100Albany.com