A Few Good Men gives young men the mentoring necessary for success
Michael Morgan fondly recalls the three men who helped shape him as a youngster: his father, his brother, and his neighbor Chuck, or Chucky, as the neighborhood kids called him. Chucky was 10 years Michael’s senior, but he was a role model and someone who looked out for the younger kids, making sure they were making good decisions, and taking the time to talk to them if they weren’t. In addition to Chuck, Michael credits his dad for being the biggest influence in his life. He demonstrated what it means to be a hard worker, to “always be there” and be consistent, and today Michael recognizes how fortunate he is. Because of the good things his mentors taught him, he’s made it his mission to do the same for others.
Michael and his wife Tamika live in the Gainesville area and are parents and grandparents. They are active members of their community and a local church. Family and community means everything to them, so it seemed like a natural progression when Michael decided to become a mentor. Through his church he coached young men between the ages of 20-25 with their life and career plans. He truly enjoyed talking with them and working with them, and saw a huge need for a youth mentoring program in the Gainesville area. But first he needed training and development, so he became a mentor through the Big Brother Big Sisters in Fairfax.
“Big Brothers and Big Sisters is a phenomenal organization and I learned so much from them,” Michael said.
In 2018, Michael narrowed down his business idea and shared it with two close friends, Greg Holmes and James Smith.
“My intent was to have a short meeting, maybe 90 minutes or so, and five hours later, my wife wondered what we were still talking about! Through our brainstorming session, Greg and James provided excellent suggestions about mentorship,” said Michael.
One of those suggestions was that he look into working with MENTOR Virginia. MENTOR Virginia is an organization that promotes effective youth mentoring by increasing the capacity and sustainability of mentoring programs, and providing resources to support the mentoring field throughout the Commonwealth.
“They really helped me understand the need, demographics and how to put together a plan,” said Michael. This past October, in honor of his father’s birthday, Michael launched A Few Good Men, LLC.
A Few Good Men (AFGM) is a nonprofit organization that specializes in mentoring young men between the ages of 8 and 21. It is a one-on-one mentoring program, and mentors devote one hour a week, or up to four hours a month, focusing on the development of their mentee. Mentees are currently found through word of mouth, and networking with local schools, community organizations, and churches. The organization is Christian based; however, it is not a requirement that mentees are Christian, nor is the organization affiliated with a specific church. And while it’s a male-based program, Michael said none of it would be possible without the help of his wife, and the wives of the current mentors.
The purpose of mentoring is to provide a consistent presence in the lives of mentees, help guide them with decisions, and encourage them to see what they can do with their lives. Currently, many of the mentees come from single-parent homes, but that is not a requirement.
“It doesn’t matter what your economic background is, if you think your son could use a mentor, we’re here. It isn’t just for low income families – we all need a mentor in life,” Michael said.
Mentees are interviewed as well, to find out how to best match them to a mentor. Parents and guardians are also met with.
“Growing up these days, you need a variety of people in your life as you walk through your journey. We all hear the statistics of many young men not doing what they should be doing. At A Few Good Men, we want to be the light for these young men, to help and encourage them. We want to teach them that they can achieve great things through hard work, but it does take a support system,” Michael said.
Recently Michael and Tamika returned from a vacation in South Africa where they were amazed at the community’s commitment to work together to raise each and every child within it.
“It really does take a village,” said Michael. “And we want to be that village in our community.”
For more information on A Few Good Men, call 703-754-3512 or visit afgmentoring.net.