The Black Suit Initiative
In 2016, The Sparrow’s Nest, Inc., launched their new, all male program, “The Black Suit Initiative”.
This leadership and community engagement program allows young men in middle and high school, the opportunity to improve academic performance, explore their career interests and participate in positive team building exercises. The successful completion of program modules allows these young men the opportunity to earn their own full black suit at the completion of the first year.
Young men are selected to be in the program through an application and interview process during the month of June. Members can remain in the organization until they graduate from high school.
$2,000 is needed to support their literacy program. Each school year, their young men are required to read 2-3 novels, which they are responsible for selecting. After book discussions and written assessments, they schedule local field trips to support each novel's theme.
"Since the inception of The Sparrow's Nest, Inc. in 2008, we have always provided our services at no cost to families. On average we meet with students 20 hours each month and provide them with educational resources, food and community opportunities to better prepare them for their futures beyond high school. Understandably, many of our larger donors have reallocated funding to support organizations which directly impact those affected by this illness, however, we our mission still continues. While schools were out, we were providing weekly meetings utilizing Zoom and we created a "pen pal" program among the members in the group. We are also gradually beginning to meet with smaller groups outside. Because we meet an average of 5 hours each Saturday, we provide our students with one meal, snacks and drinks. Feeding a group of young men each week is one of our largest expenses. Normally, we would serve pizza, but in an effort to decrease handling food, we provide students with individually wrapped sandwiches from local restaurants. We also have the additional expenses of keeping areas sanitized and providing hand soaps, hand sanitizers, masks and additional paper products." - Evianna Ross
Parent Testimonial: I can’t thank you and the BSI community enough for what you’ve done for my son. Since his enrollment, I have watched him evolve. This program has taught him the meaning of accountability and pushed him beyond his comfort zone. Isaiah has discovered that he is a leader and in addition, used his leadership schools both academically as well as in the Gate City Slam Team. I am constantly amazed by what your program has done for him and am honored that he continues to be a part of this wonderful organization.” (His photo can be found in the next section and it is labeled "Joee Poem")