Carlos Duran, founder of Hombres de Palabra, discusses the ‘Iron Man approach’ to motivate children. (WashingtonPostLive Production/Washington Post Live)

Carlos Duran

Founder, Hombres de Palabra (Men of Their Word)

We target fathers because we realize that dads are a very important factor in the development of the kid and the success of his kids. When you see the statistics from kids that dropped out of high school, I believe that 60 percent didn’t have a dad. In our penitentiaries, 60 percent didn’t have a dad. If dad is not there, the kid has [a high] chance of failure in life, in accomplishing the American Dream.

I think we have to go down into the neighborhoods to the people most affected and see it from their perspective about what is stopping them from getting their kids out into a professional career. It’s a lack of opportunities, lack of education and poverty that’s really affecting not only the Hispanic community but the African Americans and the poor whites.

It reminds me of Martin Luther King when he said the “urgency of the moment,” because we’re raising at this moment the leaders of tomorrow. So if you’re going to make the investment, it should be done today, and we should move fast on that.

I tell my men: Why should history talk about the Fords and the Rockefellers and the Kennedys when I can write my own story? History will talk about the Durans or the Perezes because we are in a time in history where we can write our own story. We are entitled to write our own page.

For Carlos Duran’s bio, click here.