How Raymond Nelson & Kenneth Joyner Are Empowering ‘Boys with a Purpose’

Black News

A typical Wednesday at Memminger Elementary School in Downtown Charleston, South Carolina consists of about 60 students dressing for success and participating in a variety of workshop-style activities, completely designed to shape them into gentlemen.

“Boys With A Purpose” created by Raymond Nelson, a student support specialist at the school and Kenneth Joyner, a fourth grade teacher, was an idea that came to mind while brainstorming ways to teach the young boys life lessons.

Since then, they have created a positive, welcoming environment and are giving the boys a boost of confidence, which fulfills the motto for the program, “Look Good, Feel Good, Do Good.” The boys usually come in with questions and activities are centered around that.

Nelson keeps a stash of clothes at school so that the students who don’t have any can still participate. A lot of the lessons are based on treating girls and women with respect. Discussing a new topic every week, they’ve learned how to open the door for ladies, address elders, shake hands and make eye contact.

“I know a lot of them struggle because a lot of them don’t have don’t have men at home…so I just want them to grow up and think of the things that I teach them…and just to have the great social skills so that they can succeed.” – Raymond Nelson, Live5News

Credit: Raymond Nelson & Kenneth Joyner, Boys With A Purpose

Credit: Raymond Nelson & Kenneth Joyner, Boys With A Purpose

Children don’t always have someone in their lives who truly care. I think about the mentors that i’ve had in my life and they helped me to recognize my own talents and make good decisions. My elementary teacher was the one who discovered that I was a talented writer and artist, so she supported my craft and gave me special activities to work on, like designing the bulletin boards.

Think about it, a child spends most of his/her time at school anyway, so what is being taught and how they are treated does a lot to them — either they are being built up or torn down. It hurts me to know that there are teachers out there who don’t care about the kids and are only there for the steady paycheck.

Nelson and Joyner have attended similar programs while growing up. “They perform well when they realize that someone cares about them” (Raymond Nelson, Live5News). “Boys With A Purpose” has changed the lives and perspectives of the students at Memminger Elementary School.

 Featured Photo Credit: Live5News

For more information, visit Boys With Purpose on Facebook!

Should more schools offer groups like “Boys With A Purpose” to help students beyond the academics? 

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