Changing attire, changing attitudes, changing lives, Boys With A Purpose is a nonprofit organization that mentors young men in the Charleston area, a vision realized by founders Kenneth Joyner and Raymond Nelson, III. We’re in downtown Charleston with our Everyday Heroes.
They say clothes make the man. It’s a great start, but it takes so much more. This is Boys With A Purpose, a non profit organization that mentors young men. Founder Kenneth Joyner says, “Boys With A Purpose is an after school mentoring program, that we started at Memminger Elementary School here at the College of Charleston. What we do is we meet with our boys Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.”
Joyner and Raymond Nelson, III started the program in 2016 by bringing in ties and having the young men dress up, which sparked a big change. Nelson says, “We go over academics first. We help them with homework at the beginning of program. We go over our affirmation, talking about good things that happened in school, happened at home, anything positive to start the day off. Then we go into our life skills lessons, and each week is a different lesson, and everyday we talk about different things. After that, we normally go to a different restaurant on King Street. We go practice our etiquette,” says Nelson.
Both Nelson and Joyner saw a need for the after school program. “We started with a few boys, and then having more boys come in wanting to be a part of the program, telling their teachers they want to be a part of the program. We saw the impact, and by that time we probably had about fif50 boys in the program. we were like man.. we’re in the school right now.. we need to get this thing up and rolling out of school.”
Giving boys life changing experiences that will elevate them to dream beyond their current conditions. Eight-year-old Brenten Monroe says, “Teaching you how to be a young gentlemen. I’m learning how to respect me and other people, and I’m learning how to be a young man. If you don’t learn these things now, it can lead to making bad decisions in the future.”
Changing lives, one tie at a time. Nelson says, “We see with our boys, the things we’re teaching them. They’re actually applying it to their everyday lives. They’re actually doing what we’re teaching them. Parents have been coming to us and saying, hey so and so has been holding the door open for us, so and so hasn’t been getting an attitude with me, we thank you guys for teaching them certain skills. We’re like you guys don’t have to thank us. This is something that we want to do. We don’t get paid for this. This is something we want to do. We feel that we are making a great impact on the community, and we just wan to continue to keep doing it across the board.”
Look good, feel good, do good, words this group lives by. “It really helps us show a sense of responsibility. We get together and talk about things like how we would act in bad situations. Some of us may respond in a bad way. Some may respond in a good way, but we’re trying to get all of to be good and have a sense of positivity in our life,” says eleven-year-old Zakoi Warren.
The boys are also mentored by college students, athletes, lawyers, policemen, clergy, college professors and other professionals. Boeing is one of their sponsors. The young men learn about engineering and robotics.
Boys With A Purpose also partnered with the Charlotte Hornets. The program was also highlighted on the steve harvey show. Joyner says, “I grew up without my father. That was a major impact on me, and it left a profound effect on me. I run into a lo of men and young men who also grew up without their father, and just the impact that has of not having a positive male role model for a young man, it leaves a lasting affect on his life. I wanted do something to give back to be able to instill the values and character and some of the things I’ve learned in my life to other young men.”
Teaching skills that are life long. Joyner says, “When I see these young men getting good grades, when I see confidence level rising, when I see the maturity level rising, when I see them being able to believe in themselves, because thats really what its all about, having hope in your self, and belief in your self, when I see that, it makes me feel good, and it lets me know I’m doing something that will last beyond my years. “I’m so moved that I’ve been put in a position, God has allowed me to be ina position where I’m able to make an impact. I’ve always wanted to do that. A lot of people are making money, but not a lot of people are making a difference, and we want to make a difference.”
Boys With A Purpose is funded by donations. For more information on the organization, and how you can help… https://www.boyswithapurposesc.org