DETROIT — Mentoring programs have the task of finding and creating unique ways to reach the students participating in these programs. RESULTS Mentoring, a redirection program, will take their students on a 5-day trip starting in Detroit, going to D.C., and eventually concluding in New York beginning on July 31st, and will take them through August 4th. The goal, to allow each student to see the riches of the world outside of their own hometowns. The trip has proven fruitful in the past, so fruitful that students from the past will be joining to spread their experiences and lessons that they acquired while being a part of the program. Thomas and Boyd also raised funds, so this trip is of no cost to the parents. A life-altering journey around the country that assures to provide eye-opening experiences.
Zenger News recently spoke with both Ed Boyd and Charles Thomas to discuss RESULTS Mentoring!
Zenger: How did “RESULTS Mentoring” program come to fruition?
Thomas: I started it in ’99. I was the worst thing to ever happen to a school. Went through the streets. God kept me safe. My mother had shut me off from coming around. She gave me a call one day because my dad was diagnosed with bone cancer and didn’t have long. She wanted to know if I would come home and help her. I came back; I got into prayer, and back into church, ended up doing my call to preach. I didn’t have a GED or anything. I asked God, “What’s the plan?” He said, “I need you to go back to what you were doing before the streets took over.” Education. I ended up coaching little league football in 1998 and ’99. Parents would bring the kids to the program, but 2 weeks later they would take them off the team because of behavioral issues. I decided to take coaching off of the field and into the schools and the homes. I saw a dramatic impact. I knew it was something I wanted to do the rest of my life. We have impacted roughly 3,500 lives. We have around an 85-90% ratio of kids not getting back in trouble. The acronym for “RESULTS” is, Reaching Every Student Using Love Training & Support.
Zenger: Describe this trip that you guys are about to take these kids on and the importance of it?
Thomas: We take these boys who don’t know each other so that they can build comradery. We take 40 boys that don’t know each other and by day 3, it’s a brotherhood. We put on strategic videos like, “Remember the Titans,” and “Hoosiers.” Hearing these thunderous applauses on that bus because they know they are impacted is so amazing; it brings tears to your eyes.
Boyd: The foundation of the trip is we get them out of the city. We show them how rich the world is, so we pick Washington D.C. and New York because it’s rich with history and culture. If we take them to see that the world has more to offer, then they feel that they are entitled to a richer life. If you see more, you believe you can do more, and it changes your whole mindset. In the course of 5 days, we start hearing, “Mr. Thomas, Mr. Boyd, I believe I can.” That can, could be college, skilled labor, it could be a number of things. But it’s coming out of their mouths now, so that means they believe it. That is the transformation. It’s a shared experience for the rest of their lives. Friendships come out of this. They create their own social circle. They communicate after the trip, and that assures us that we got them thinking and moving in the right direction. And that trip will take place from July 31st through August 4th. It’s a 5-day trip, we start out in Detroit, we head to D.C. first, spend a couple of days there, then we head to New York, and then on Friday we travel back.
Thomas: And this is at no cost to the parents. We raised funding ourselves so that the parents don’t have to pay anything.
Zenger: How important is it to get these kids out of their normal and their comfort zones to see D.C., New York, and everything in between?
Thomas: Two quick experiences, one, when we did the first trip, me and Ed had always seen exactly where it is right now, in our vision what we had set up for these trips. We had a situation where we had 16- and 17-year-old kids looking back at us and saying, “Are those real cows?” “Are those real horses?” They had never been out of the city. We were riding on the bus heading to New York, everybody was on the bus sleeping except for this one boy. I always sit in the back of the bus and Ed sits in the front. I saw this light illuminating and it was this boy facetiming his mother. I was listening to the conversation, and she was saying how happy she was for him to be experiencing this, and he told his mother, “Mom, my life will never be the same.”
Boyd: We have a little bit of everything on the trip. There are some tears shed, hugs, and all types of things. These boys are being liberated and encouraged. They are not being beat down by our system. Our system uplifts. It tells them that it’s up to you to make your future bright. You just gotta believe in it. We got a subset of guys who went on the trip with us, 5 years or so ago. These kids have graduated from college now, and they came back to us, and they want to go on the trip again to be a bridge for these younger boys. We know that sometimes even though the message is the same, sometimes you gotta change the messenger. Let the boys who have been there and experienced it speak to the boys. They let them know to get all that they can out of this and that will bless you.
Thomas: One of the biggest things that we offer throughout those 5 days is, most of the things that these kids don’t get in their home life, is structure and discipline. There is accountability in structure and discipline. They must sit down for breakfast at a certain time, they have to be in their room at a certain time, because we don’t have them wandering the halls playing around. They know, no smoking or vaping, so even if you do that when you’re at home, it’s not tolerated here, so it gives you the mindset that you can go without it. I’m a little heavier on the discipline because of the Boot Camp Program, so they always go to Ed when they want to ask for something. There’s a balance there.
Edited by Deborah .C. Amirize and Virginia Van Zandt