Miami Non-Profit Mentoring Group Faces Uncertain Future With Rising Costs

Retired firefighter William Clark founded the DCS Mentoring Program in 2016 after seeing a need for mentors in his community

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Soaring prices are impacting everyone in some way, including a Miami non-profit group that teaches leadership skills to young boys. The organizations founder says the program’s future is uncertain and he is hoping the community can help.

Retired firefighter William Clark founded the DCS Mentoring Program in 2016 after seeing a need for mentors in his community.

"We show them living examples of themselves,” said Clark. “How they can navigate through this world without going down the wrong path.”

The program mentors young boys between seven and seventeen years old by helping them focus on their responsibilities at home, school and their futures.

"We talk about our experiences,” said Clark. “We share information with them about how we went from their age, to where we are now, and the kids can see themselves through us."

 The program is broken down into two 15-week sessions per year with 25 students are in the current session.

"A lot of them come from disadvantaged homes,” said Clark. “A lot of them need guidance that their parents felt like they weren't getting. A lot of them come from good homes, who were just basically not performing to the level that their parents saw fit."

 During the 15-week sessions, Clark says the mentees learn proper etiquette, conflict resolution and so much more.  

“We purchase suits as part of the etiquette program,” said Clark. “We take them to a five-start restaurant or a nice community restaurant. Basically at the end of the year, a third of our budget is spent on one day between the suits, the bus and the cost of the meal."

During the time out at a fancy restaurant, the kids are able to practice what they learned in etiquette class. However, for a small non-profit, that part of the program does not come cheap - especially when you multiply the costs of suits and meals by the amount of mentees in the program.

According to Clark, between the coronavirus pandemic, its aftermath and other financial strains hitting just about every part of the economy, the DCS Mentoring Program is feeling it too.

"Even the bus has gone up,” said Clark. “It used to be one price. Now due to gas prices, even the gas is almost double. So, we have some limitations."

Clark said the program did not get its usual funding donations and hoping people will open their hearts to help the children.

"So we are seeking help with another $10,000, so that we can get through that particular day of dining and suits and so forth." 

There are two weeks left in the current program session, and the second session starts in the fall. For ways to donate and to learn more, click on this link.

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