A Guide to Giving Back

  1. BOY: I've got the juice.

    GROUP OF BOYS: I've got the juice.

    BOY: And any other feedback will be appreciated and acted on.

    GROUP OF BOYS: And any other feedback will be appreciated and acted on.

    BOY: Self-evaluation and correcting my undeveloped strengths must be done daily.

    GROUP OF BOYS: Self-evaluation and correcting my undeveloped strengths must be done daily.

    BOY: Small steps lead to big changes.

    GROUP OF BOYS: Small steps lead to big changes.

    BOY: I know and believe that anything is possible...

    MITCH MATTHEWS: A smile, a necktie, a high five. You wouldn't think such simple things could make a difference. But in Cape Girardeau, Missouri the founders of the Honorable Young Men Club are using these tools to change lives.

    On screen: Cantrell Andrews, Co-Founder, Honorable Young Men Club

    CANTRELL ANDREWS: Even though they're young kids, these kids are not crazy.

    MITCH MATTHEWS: Right.

    CANTRELL ANDREWS: They hear everything and they see everything. They just don't know how to express it.

    MITCH MATTHEWS: Right.

    CANTRELL ANDREWS: They don't know how to say, "My parents were fighting last night and I was up all night listening to 'em."

    On screen: Kweku Arkorful, Co-Founder, Honorable Young Men Club

    KWEKU ARKORFUL: Either athletes or drug dealers, that's all these kids see. And if we can try to change that mindset, where it's like, "No, you can be a business owner."

    CANTRELL ANDREWS: They don't have to struggle paycheck to paycheck. They don't have to go out and sell drugs. And that's when I push on them why education is so important. You don't have to go to college, but you need a plan.

    On screen: Wyky Jean, Co-Founder, Honorable Young Men Club

    WYKY JEAN: Alright, so today we're talking about accountability. Right... accountability. Somebody tell me what accountability is. Boom, "Looking for help." You don't know what you're doing, I need some help. Okay, Cantrell, I'm struggling with this tie man, can you help me out?

    CANTRELL ANDREWS: I gots you, boss.

    WYKY JEAN: Boom, he steps in, he helps me out, right? So I'm not going in no place lookin' like a fool. 'Cause my tie used to be all here like this. My tie was hurtin'. You feelin' what I'm sayin'? So accountability.

    MITCH MATTHEWS: This dream got started when some friends, who met while playing football at Southeast Missouri State, saw a need and decided to give back.

    KWEKU ARKORFUL: It's really cool because we just sit down and we just say, "Okay what can we each him this week?" And then things just come up.

    MITCH MATTHEWS: Yeah.

    KWEKU ARKORFUL: Just so quick.

    MITCH MATTHEWS: 'Cause you guys aren't trained teachers.

    KWEKU ARKORFUL: No.

    MITCH MATTHEWS: You're just passionate about what you're doing. Not at all.

    KWEKU ARKORFUL: Just passionate about kids.

    MITCH MATTHEWS: Yeah, that's amazing.

    WYKY JEAN: We teach life skills, soft skills, we've come up with our own core values. Something that we feel like they can take now and for the rest of their life. So, we're trying to teach these young men how to become men. And how to become leaders in their society, at home, wherever they go.

    KWEKU ARKORFUL: We high five kids. We hug 'em. And it started off at first where they were kinda like, a little bit like, "Man who is this guy?" Comin' up here trying to hug me. And then we say, "Hey man, I love you." And it took 'em a little while to start saying it back. But now they're texting saying, "Man, I love you bro." It first starts with just loving on these kids and then we meet their needs where we can.

    MITCH MATTHEWS: They went into this just wanting to give back. But as the program grew, it turned into full time jobs for these mentors.

    WYKY JEAN: It don't feel like a job, it don't. It's what we love to do. It's like what Cantrell said, "This is what we do." And if we got change in our pocket, it's theirs. If we have a contact in our phones, it's theirs. So…and it's beautiful 'cause it's bringing together not just the kids, but it's the families, it's community, it's school. It's way bigger then, oh it's just a job. No man, this is a lifestyle and it's real. We love it.

    KWEKU ARKORFUL: It just goes to show that, a little bit of time and just some love could go a long way. And now you can't even tell if that's the same student.

    MITCH MATTHEWS: Sometimes when you give back, it can lead to big things. You might uncover a job you love. You might encourage someone to change the world for the better. Or maybe, you might just put a smile on someone's face.

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Expert tips from dreamers who’re shaping the future of a generation

In Cape Girardeau, Missouri, you’ll find a group of school-aged boys that call themselves the Honorable Young Men Club. This group is focused on learning life skills, discovering a successful path forward and becoming impactful members of society. And that’s all thanks to four exceptional individuals — Cantrell Andrews, Kweku Arkorful, Wyky Jean and Aaron Adeoye (not featured in video).

This dream of making a difference started when these friends saw a need and decided to give back.

“My mom works in the school with a lot of at risk kids and she said ‘hey, a lot of these kids could use your mentorship,’” says Cantrell.

“Growing up, I lacked the example of how a real man was to truly carry himself,” adds Wyky. “My sister recognized how that could affect me, so she placed me in local programs such as Big Brothers and convinced my mother to allow me to play sports and be around other males and coaches who were outstanding leaders. I was able to take bits and pieces from my big brothers in the program and my coaches. They gave me tasks that helped me grow and see what I was truly capable of. All this lead me to realize that kids need role models because they need a point of reference. They need to see and hear what it is like to be an honorable man. Then they will know what’s expected of them.”

And so, the Honorable Young Men Club (HYMC) was formed. And it’s been just as rewarding for the founders as it’s been for the kids they’ve helped along the way.

“The most rewarding part is witnessing the development of some of these young men,” says Wyky. “The way this job has changed my life is by helping me discover my purpose. Now that I see this huge gap, I want to help fill it. I’m no longer living to make a dollar because I have a degree. But I’m living to make an impact and help empower young lives. This joy is like none other — it’s a very different feeling.”

It’s true, giving back is a gratifying feeling. And at the core of many dreams is the desire to make a difference. But it’s not always easy to jump in and make it happen. You may ask, ‘where do I even begin?’ Take it from the experts — Wyky has 3 tips to help get you started down the path to a more rewarding life.


Check your mindset. Make sure you’re going in with the right intentions. After all, the key to giving back is to do something for others, but it’s also about growing yourself and pushing your boundaries so you can be the best you can be for those in need. 

“If you are truly interested in giving back, go all in,” encourages Wyky. “Be there to help and serve. Have an open mind and an open heart. Be ready to develop yourself as a person. Enjoy the experience, make sacrifices that are uncomfortable and be blessed by it.”

Harness the power of community. While you may be able to make a difference on your own, odds are working together with others will be many times more impactful. So think about enlisting others to join you and learn from each other along the way. That’s exactly what the founders of the HYMC did. 

“No one man can take on the world alone,” states Wyky. “Someone in the community can help you limit mistakes and push you in the right direction. We all have strengths and weaknesses and together we are able to accomplish more and help more. Now you’re creating a village where everyone is taking care of one another. People support the world they helped create.”

Want a simple way to get involved and give back in your community? Learn how you can help fight hunger by supporting a local food bank!

Discover your opportunity today. Wyky’s advice is all great, but if you don’t take this last tip seriously, you won’t get far on your quest to make a difference: Don’t make excuses. It’s easy to say you don’t have the time right now or you just can’t decide on the right way to give back, but the hardest part is getting started, and we know you’ve got what it takes.

“If you are wanting to give back, get out there and really look for an opportunity!” encourages Wyky. “Don’t allow excuses to suffocate any opportunities you have to impact someone’s life. Make the sacrifice now.”

So, if you truly dream of giving back, there’s no better time than the present. And no better inspiration than what Wyky, Cantrell and Kweku have done! So take a page from there book — find a need and make the commitment to give back. You might be shocked at the ripple effect you can have on your community.

Looking for even more ways to give back to your community? Take a moment to learn how you can make the world a little bit brighter for those who need it most with these resources and inspiring real-world stories.


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Related Topics: Community , Passions , Personal Development