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Mentoring Boys & Young Men

Project ASAP

The Project ASAP symbol is the diamond because the attributes of a diamond are what we expect to see in boys as they develop into men.

The diamond is the hardest naturally occurring substance on Earth. It’s made of carbon atoms. The shine and sparkle of the diamond represent vision, clarity, awareness, understanding, and keen perception.

As a boy growing into manhood, you are to become like a diamond. You’re to develop positive attributes like resilience and vision, vision being the ability to understand how your present actions affect your future. You will have the ability to think clearly, and you’ll develop vigilance, which is the ability to be alert at all times.

The acronym a.s.a.p. means as soon as possible. This highlights the urgency and importance of reaching boys and young men of color. This manual emphasizes the positive and productive side of life that all boys must affirm. You must affirm and believe that you are absolutely valued. This is an algebra term. The absolute value symbol is the two parallel bars. Any number inside the bars is converted into a positive number. That is the way Project ASAP approaches every boy and young man. Therefore the first letter is A that stands for absolute value. The second letter S stands for special. You are special. You have your own unique gifts, talents, challenges, and potential. The third letter A stands for appointed. You live in this space and time for a reason. You are going to leave your mark and legacy on the world. The last letter P stands for powerful. Every boy and young man must understand they are full of inner power. Your mind and spirit can accomplish anything once you choose do the necessary work.


The diamond is the Project ASAP symbol. A diamond is evaluated based on four Cs: carat, cut, clarity, and color.



The carat measures how much a diamond weighs. Instead of using pounds, ounces, grams, kilograms, etc., diamond weight is based on carats. A carat is equal to 0.2 grams, which is about the weight of a paperclip. The cost of a diamond is partially based on the carat size.

As a young male, you’re growing in weight—not physical weight, which is measured on a scale, but the weight of your words and actions that you are building every day of your life. When you keep


your word, you add weight. When you make a promise and keep it, you add weight. When you start and complete school assignments or chores at home, you add weight. When you learn self-control and self- discipline, you add weight. The goal is to have gravitas, which is when people take you seriously and give you trust, respect, and confidence.



A diamond does not come out of the earth as a perfectly shaped crystal. It’s rough, with many odd shapes. Only a professional diamond cutter, who has specialized knowledge, tools, and techniques must cut the raw diamond. One false move or cut and a diamond is ruined. The cut refers to a diamond’s proportions, symmetry, and polish.

There are four grades of diamond cut: ideal, very good, good, and poor. The beauty of a diamond depends more on cut than any other factor. The cut has three primary effects on appearance: brilliance (brightness), fire (the dispersion of light into colors seen as flashes of color), and scintillation (the flashes of light and dark or sparkle when a diamond is moved).

All of us start out as rough crystals. Boys must go through the process of being refined, or cut, to be of value to the world. Do not look at correction, reprimand, and discipline as negative experiences to fight and rebel against. Look at them as opportunities for being cut, formed, and shaped into the ideal. Boys who reject the cutting phase in life often find their life journeys into adulthood much harder.



Almost all diamonds contain “birthmarks,” small imperfections inside the diamond (called inclusions), or on its surface (called blemishes). Clarity refers to the degree to which these imperfections are present. Diamonds that contain a lot of inclusions or blemishes have less brilliance and are less valuable.

Many of us are born with birthmarks. As a baby, they’re very noticeable. In most cases the birthmarks become less apparent as we grow older. It’s important that you work on the inclusions and blemishes in your character, behavior, attitude, and health. Remember, no one is perfect. Even adults must keep working on clarity in their lives.



Diamonds come in a variety of colors; some are pink, blue, or yellow. In a white diamond, the presence of yellow will lower the price. The less body color in a white diamond, the more true color it will reflect,


and thus the greater value. The elements of nitrogen and sulphur can get trapped in a crystal. When this happens, it adds color to the diamond.

Diamonds have a color grading scale. The scale begins with D, which is the highest, and means there is no color. In other words, it looks pure white. The lowest on the scale is Z, which means there is too much color.

You have the capability of being rated D. The colors you want to exhibit are natural colors, like the rainbow. The top color is true blue. True blue means you are loyal, trustworthy, and for real. You are not a phony or hypocrite. Your word is your bond. This means you keep your promises. It also means you’ll do what you say you will.

A. In your notebook, write down a diamond’s four Cs and how they apply to your life.

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