Mr. Dennis Blake – Mentoring Thru Sports Professional (MTSP)


Sophie Poveda-M’Bale, Guest Reporter

Dennis Blake, a study hall teacher here at Briar Woods, is not only an Olympic athlete but the co-founder of a non-profit organization and activist for education in underprivileged African communities. Originally from Jamaica, when Blake moved to the United States for track and field, he knew he had to work to make the lives of African children better in any way he could. 

Blake’s non-profit, Mentoring Thru Sports Professional (MTSP), sets up summer camps for elementary school students to attend, free of charge. Due to COVID restrictions, the camps were put on hold but will return this summer, beginning on August first. Additionally, monetary donations have decreased during the pandemic, while material donations have increased. As the camp gets closer, Blake, his wife, and everyone helping build their program back up are excited to continue to give these children a fun, 10-day experience of a lifetime. 

With the help of a local pastor, Dennis Blake is also working on beginning a loan program for single mothers in rural African communities. “There are a lot of women [who] are not working and.. becom[ing] single parents. They are struggling,” Blake said in an interview. Starting with five mothers, each will receive one hundred dollars, with which they will buy and sell products to earn a profit and return those one hundred dollars in three months to be given to another mother. This system aims to allow single mothers an opportunity to earn a living to support their children. “Women are suffering; … suffering from the trauma of fourteen years of civil war, and then Ebola, and then COVID. [They are] not getting a break,” Blake relayed when asked why they are starting this system.

Similarly, targeted towards adolescents, Blake and his team are buying sewing machines to allow youths to learn a skill that could earn them a living in the future. This program is a preventative measure with the hope of decreasing the likelihood of another generation of poverty and lack of knowledge to earn a living. Lastly, Blake has been helping a community build up an educational environment for younger children. A local church and its patrons have been trying for years to build a school and library off of the building but did not have access to the proper materials. Once Blake and his wife became involved, the project took off again. He is purchasing decorations for classrooms, elementary to middle school level fiction and nonfiction books, and writing supplies to offer the necessary supplies to build a learning-conducive environment for these children. Blake is also accepting donations directly to him. 

When asked how best to grow awareness, Blake stated Briar Woods students should seek information: to read the news, to talk to people, to seek knowledge about issues that do not affect them but need recognition nonetheless. If students would like to donate any new school supplies or clothes, they can give them directly to him. Monetary donations are also always accepted at the following link: