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The Village 4450 Enright St. Louis, MO 63108
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To extend an honest hand to the next generation by connecting youth from at-risk communities with empowered and enlightened adults who will provide those youth with academic assistance, spiritual guidance, and life skills training to give them the skill sets needed to excel in all aspects of life.
The Village began in 2010 with two young men who consistently found their way into the youth ministry at my church. Despite the many temptations available to these 2 brothers, ages 10 and 13, were always in attendance. Rather than push them out of probably the safest place they could be 3-4 days a week, I took it upon myself to take them in. I told them that they clearly had too much time on their hands and recruited them to assist me in upkeep of the one piece of rental property I owned. They honorably accepted food and attention in exchange for their service a few Saturdays a month. Over time, these young men began to invite their friends to join us. Within one year, two boys grew to five or six. I told these young men that I could not personally afford to feed them. But if they were willing work for the money, then we could spend it as they choose. Collectively, they agreed, and we began to cut grass, rake leaves, shovel snow, paint, etc. They put their trust in me and put in the hard work, and we had a lot of fun together. Over the next 2 years, our attendance of 5 to 6 boys each meeting grew to 12 to 15 and less than half attended the church. I then recognized that my mentoring program is needed far beyond the limits of the church walls. I needed another way to raise the necessary funding to better serve these boys because there is no way we could cut enough grass in one day to feed everyone. Soon after, I shared not-for-profit paperwork I had written in 2008 with a friend who was in her final masters’ class. On January 27th 2014, “The Village” was approved by the federal government, and our program was born.
The purpose of our mentoring program is to influence the minds of young men to become better men thereby experiencing joy and taking pride in their labor. 1. They are expected to live by example. We know that they are performing their duties if the grades their mentees are improving and the behavior responses on their report cards are improving. 2. The Honor Club are expected to perform all the activities of a 5-star member. 3. Consists of the boys working and playing together. The time that they spend with their mentees as well as each other will give them opportunities to build friendships with other Honorable young men and receive wisdom from their mentors. 4. Their ministry is working for the Lord in the form of cleaning the house of God and offering their support to other church members. 5. The young and seasoned working together to build healthy and exceptional youth whose lives will become a living example of God’s favor.