A counselor at a Lowcountry school created a club called “Boys with a Purpose” to “pass along the knowledge” he received growing up.
Every Wednesday almost 60 students—first through fifth grade—at Memminger Elementary School meet in their “Sunday’s best.”
Their motto is “Look good, feel good, do good.”
Raymond Nelson, who works with at-risk children and is the student support specialist at Memminger Elementary in Downtown Charleston, said: “Some of the young men in the school were not using manners and not conducting themselves like young men.”
Therefore, he decided to teach these boys how to be gentlemen.
Each week they practice different kinds of etiquette, for instance, how to shake hands, make eye contact, open doors and address their elders.
“We have a purpose to teach the boys proper etiquette, appropriate manners, and social skills.
“The boys love the group and they feel great about being a part of an organization that is teaching them to be better men one day,” Nelson told Epoch Times.
Nelson said the club has been a “big change” for the young boys, adding, “They have more positive attitudes, feel good about themselves, and doing [are] better in school.”
4th grader Davion says, “I love the compliments that I receive from the teachers and women.” 5th grader Omari Casey said, “Being in the Boys with a Purpose Club teaches me how to be a gentleman and how to behave.”
“We commended these boys for the willingness to learn these traits at an early age,” Nelson said.
One of their Wednesday routines, is going to Tazikis restaurant “for catered lunch to practice etiquette.” They have the option to wear their school uniforms, or dress for success.
In most cases, they choose to dress up, and for those who don’t have success clothes, Nelson keeps a supply of donated jackets, vests and ties at school for them.
Nelson also recalls that he too, joined a similar group as a child.
Growing up, my mom placed me in different programs like the Beaux Affair, Knights of Pythagoras, and the Masters program at church. As a teenager, I didn’t want to be a part of these groups and it was often a struggle to get me to go. After attending a few meetings, I felt a sense of security with the groups and became very comfortable with my mentors. I can see the same effects with the boys.
“Instead of the boys getting into trouble, they are receiving praises from everyone, making better choices, and being extra polite to adults,” Nelson said.
Nelson told Epoch Times that one can see the transformation of the boys “right before your eyes.”
The mother of 4th grader Devyn Lapeus said, “Devyn is being such a gentleman. He is opening doors for me, answering me—using ma’am, and just being very polite.”
Nelson and 4th grade teacher Kenneth Joyner, who also assist Nelson with “Boys with a Purpose,” were featured on The Steve Harvey Show last week Thursday, Mar. 17.
They are planning to go to Carowinds, an amusement park and take the boys shopping—either with the donations they’ve received on their Go Fund Me page or “Mr. Joyner or myself would pay,” Nelson said.