Nason Buchanan strives to be a positive influence for youth in need of positive role models
LOS ANGELES — Growing up, Nason Buchanan had many positive role models who taught him invaluable life skills that helped him to adapt to anything that life threw at him.
However, nothing could have prepared him for the loss of his mother, two brothers, and cousin to gun violence in 2002. It was a tragedy that changed the trajectory of his life.
“Prior to this tragedy, my purpose in life was to take care of my mother [but] not wanting my family members to be remembered by these events, I [decided] to found a nonprofit organization in their names to show the true humanitarians they were and how they helped me become the man I am today,” Buchanan said. “DMTL stands for Delores, Marcel, Tyrie and Larry. Now my purpose in life is to assist and empower communities that are underserved and improve people’s overall economic opportunity.”
Founded in partnership with Maryum Ali, DMTL has collaborated with more than 100 community-based organizations in Los Angeles and has developed a violence prevention model that can be shared on a national level.
DMTL provides gang prevention, juvenile delinquency prevention, and youth and family development services to the South Los Angeles community. The organization fosters resiliency and pro-social behaviors, enhances academic performance and strengthens family functioning so that youth and their families will become more empowered to make progressive life choices.
In addition, DMTL’s mentorship program has connected a number of young adults to community colleges and employment opportunities. DMTL has awarded high school seniors with the Delores Buchanan Scholarship and provided multiple Christmas toy giveaways for underprivileged families.
DMTL also has a mentorship and economic development component, aimed at ensuring that families have the resources they need to thrive in their own community.
And the organization is just getting started.
In the next few years, DMTL will implement a three-year pilot program for youth in grades six through 8 who are at-risk for gang involvement and delinquency due to the high crime, unemployment rates and limited resources that plague their community.
“For many years, people across the nation have been calling out for solutions to violence and crimes being committed by the hands of our youth,” Buchanan said. “This has been an overwhelming problem to attend to and solve because it is loaded with multiple factors and, if not addressed properly, someone can be led down a path of self-destruction.
“The appropriate type of resources and services for youth and their families are just some of the many solutions that are desperately needed.”
Buchanan believes that the more resources a community can pour into its youth, the better chance they have at succeeding in life.
“Somewhere along their journey, [young people] learn how to cope with adversity and are able to choose paths to a brighter future,” he said. “To accomplish this, they must value [themselves] as a deserving human being, understand how to navigate beyond barriers and obtain the necessary skills to achieve productive goals.”
For DMTL, family support is a crucial component of the organizational model.
“Families at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder are in crisis and their needs must be addressed with urgency,” Buchanan said. “Institutional barriers in our society have prevented many families from receiving equal access to critical resources.
“DMTL is committed to providing culturally relevant, emotional, social and behavioral support for youth and their families to help them transform their hardships into seeds of resilience that can grow into dynamic empowerment and self-sufficiency.”
Buchanan hopes that the holistic programming the organization offers will create positive experiences for a community in need of hope.
“Problems such as poverty and socio-economic inequalities will not be solved overnight, but youth and families are looking for places they can trust and count on to help them develop the resilience necessary to live more fulfilled lives. The DMTL Program was developed for this purpose,” Buchanan said.