At STS, we believe we didn’t find mentorship, but that it found us. STS was created as a response to a need that we recognized in the Memphis community. Through our affiliations with local schools, we saw lots of bright young men and women that needed and wanted to be guided, encouraged and inspired. The challenge was placed in our laps and we suited up, and rose to the occasion. We stopped waiting on someone else to be the change we wanted to see, and decided to make our community our responsibility.
STS began with one student- one boy who just wanted to be around us and learn everything we knew. The name for our organization came naturally as we realized our greatest charge is Setting the Standard for the young people that follow in our footsteps. That one mentee turned into five in the first year, gathering to go over the “word of the week” and learn a new skill, like changing a flat tire. We now have reached over 7,000 students over the last five years, and evolved into a multifaceted leadership development organization. We aim to reach thousands more. We coined the saying “Making Excellence the Norm,” because we saw that all our students lacked was exposure and a consistent example. We committed to providing that, and rallied over 100 other volunteers to do the same.
We knew we weren’t perfect, but we knew we had experiences to share. We wanted to keep younger men and women from making the same mistakes we made, and simultaneously introduce opportunities we did not have. We took this task seriously, and from the moment we noticed the impact we were having, we set out to make some personal changes and better our own lives. We decided to fast from all the things that were distractions at the time and abstain from drinking, video games, sexual relations etc., and told God we were giving Him our full attention. We wanted Him to guide us in this journey and we believe He honored our dedication. We strongly believe He has blessed STS for our commitment.
Since our start,
· 100% of our students have received their high school diplomas
· 83% of our graduates are enrolled in post-secondary educational opportunities
· 76% of STRIVE students were retained from start to finish (55 students from 2014-2017)
· 81% of our parents say that their children are more obedient
· 90% of our parents say that their children feel better about themselves
. 17 students received internships and job placements to various entities in Memphis including Fortune 500 companies
With intense concentration on our three core values: authenticity, transformation and excellence, we’ve kept students from juvenile detention sentences, gang affiliations, truancy and many other destructive paths. At STS, we are proudly joining our youth’s villages, and helping to develop the leaders of tomorrow.