100 Black Men of London
893. Olu Alake
Olu Alake, from London, is a founding member and former president of ‘100 Black Men of London’, a community-based charity focusing on empowering young black people.
Originating in the USA in 1963, Olu has worked with the London branch of the charity since it was established in 2001 and created a successful youth mentoring initiative, which was subsequently adopted by other branches around the world. The charity now operates all over London and delivers support programmes including mentoring, youth leadership and parenting support. During Olu’s time as President, many new initiatives were introduced, including a youth debate launched in 2008, a peer mentoring programme that started in 2009, a parents in partnership programme in 2010 and a Black Heroes Walk event in 2012. In total over 1,000 young black people have benefitted from the programmes.
In a personal letter to Olu, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“As a founding member and former president of ‘100 Black Men of London’, you are empowering black men in your local community to volunteer and share their diverse experiences and skills. Under your leadership the charity has become a prominent voice in the community and you should feel very proud of the innovative initiatives you have introduced, including the youth mentoring initiative that has been subsequently adopted by other branches around the world.”
“We don’t do what we do at the ‘100 Black Men of London (100BMOL)’ for recognition or reward – we do it because we believe that we can make a difference in the lives of young people and help them navigate the many hurdles that will obstruct, distract or actively prevent them from reaching their potential. I have had the pleasure of working with hundreds of wonderful men and over a thousand young people in my work with the ‘100BMOL’, and they have inspired and motivated me. This award is for them all. I hope others will be moved by this award and recognise that when we invest a little time, effort and love in the life of a child today, we are doing our bit to make all our tomorrows better.”