Youth mentor Jeff Perkins
Retired electrician Jeff Perkins grew up in Decatur, Illinois, and over the years, worked in a number of community organizations. He served on the Decatur School Board and is a past president of the Decatur chapter of the NAACP. He founded Caring Black Men of Decatur several years ago out of concern about young men getting into trouble.
He got together a group of about 20 men to begin an effort to provide mentors and role models for African American youth. "They sit down and talk with youn men about what it is to be a man and the expectations of their family and community," said Illinois Pioneers host David Inge. The organization now works in 13 of 22 Decatur schools and sees 300 young men in a week.