“STEPPING UP TO SERVE”: IS A MISSISIPPI-BASED INITIATIVE TO SHOWCASE PEOPLE IN OUR COMMUNITY WHO ARE GOING THE EXTRA MILE TO GIVE BACK. THIS SEGMENT IS MADE POSSIBLE BY:
“Stepping Up To Serve” – Men United: Helping Our Men Excel (H.O.M.E)
2022 will mark one year since a group of cousins in Mississippi decided to start a program aimed at providing young men the opportunities and resources needed to develop leadership skills.
Men United, Inc. has changed countless of lives in the ten months they have been established.
Lee Williams, the Director of Operations, says that it’s all about the small things that make a big impact.
“Our mission at Men’s United is just to improve the quality of life within our communities,” Williams said.
“We inspire, educate, train; and teach discipline, and accountability.”
The mentors of Men United are not only cousins, but they are all former or current law enforcement officers.
(Editor’s Note: Officer Williams can be seen on FRONT LINES: Season 2, Episode 1 – Oxford Game Day)
Their main focus is on kids and young adults who are having a rough time in school, live in an unhealthy home environment, or find themselves alone in the world.
“Most kids say, ‘Man, I ain’t come from nothing.’”
“We always tell them, ‘Guys, don’t say you don’t come from anything. Because you’re going to call your parents giving you their all in life “nothing”?’”
In their efforts, they have been able to help young adults with basic necessities like getting their license and applying for jobs; all the way to teaching some how to become drone pilots.
“If you’re looking for a change, a REAL change, we want to help you,” said Williams.
When Men United began, the program did not anticipate the amount of growth and support they would get.
Celebrities like Floyd “Money” Mayweather and Cedric the Entertainer have taken a special interest in the program; and some colleges have stepped up to provide educational incentives for the high school seniors in Men United.
Dr. Latonya Smith at Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis established an alliance which stated that any senior in the Men United program who has kept up good grades and meets the requirements for admission would receive a full-ride scholarship to the university. She even told the the leaders that she is willing to offer the scholarship on the spot if they bring the student on a tour.
Lee emphasized: “At the end of the day, if we’re not going to do it, who will?”
“I can’t say, ‘Man, I hope life changes for these guys’, and not do anything,” he said. “What am I actually doing to try to change it for them? I can’t just speak on something that I’m not doing.”
Men United planted their roots in Lambert and have since expanded to Charleston, and have hopes of growing even more.
Meetings are held weekly in each location, and there is only one requirement to being a part of Men United: Show up.
Tuesday they are in Charleston at 6:00 p.m., and on Thursdays they are in Lambert at 6:00 p.m.
On March 25, Men United will celebrate their one-year anniversary.
Their inbox is always open to anybody who needs it.