Raymond Nelson, a student-support specialist at Memminger Elementary School, in South Carolina, created an amazing project to work with ‘at-risk’ children.
Mr. Nelson formed the Gentlemen’s Club, now renamed ‘Boys with a Purpose’, to teach the boys new social skills and how to succeed in life. Every Wednesday, 60 young boys between 5 and 11, turn up to school wearing their Sunday best: suits, jackets, ties – and should any child not have their own, Mr. Nelson keeps a collection at school.
“I was thinking maybe if I have the boys dress for success,” said Mr. Nelson, “When was the last time you saw someone fighting in a tuxedo?”. Many of the skills that they learn, among others, to become a gentlemen include how to address their elders, make eye contact and shake hands.
The motto of Boys with a Purpose is “Look good, feel good, do good.” and it seems to work. As the boys arrive to school you can really see how proud they are, and that they move with confidence. Particularly when someone tells them that they look nice,or handsome.
“I know a lot of them struggle because a lot of them don’t have men at home, so I just want them to grow up and think of the things that I teach them.”
The Boys with a Purpose group has been so successful at Memminger Elementary that the Charleston County School District officials hope to begin Gentlemen’s programs in other local schools.