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The inspiring “Boys With a Purpose” club for at-risk kids

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Cerith Gardiner - published on 05/25/23

This club is a beautiful example of when teachers go above and beyond.

As schools start to wrap up their academic year, it’s important to acknowledge the hard work the teachers put in to preparing their pupils for life ahead, away from the school books.

An Instagram post from a few years ago about a teacher in South Carolina who started a “Gentlemen’s Club” for boys with no father figures at home has once more garnered a lot of attention.

Raymond Nelson, a student support specialist at Memminger Elementary in Downtown Charleston, South Carolina, along with fellow teacher Kenneth Joyner, came up with the idea of helping kids who are at-risk.

He gathered nearly 60 students every Wednesday to join his club, where boys were expected to dress for the occasion. As the group’s motto is “Look good, feel good, do good,” the youngsters would turn up in their Sunday best.

As Nelson shared with WCSC-TV, “I was thinking maybe if I have the boys dress for success … When was the last time you saw someone fighting in a tuxedo?”

The kind-hearted teacher has a stock of donated attire to lend to the kids so they don’t feel left out if they don’t have their own smart clothes.

“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. They like the reaction of walking up to classrooms and [someone saying], ‘Oh, you look so nice and handsome’; they just love it.”

The children range from first to fifth grade, and when they join the other gentlemen in their club they discuss all sorts of topics, ranging from hand-shaking to respecting their elders.

While the club started out as being named a “gentlemen’s club,” Nelson renamed it to “Boys With a Purpose,” which will surely give these young men a sense of direction in life.

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