Young Men of Purpose is a club that works with the youth of color to help them find more opportunities in life.
Here at Thomas Jefferson High School, one of the many clubs that is offered is Young Men of Purpose (YMOP). YMOP is a program that incorporates society’s message toward young men of color and the public. This program is about smart young men of color who do community related activities such as group projects, address social justice, help other students with classes, and focus on college readiness. This club has it all, and it is not exclusive either; anybody can join YMOP, regardless of background. The club has been going strong for twelve years and has over 3,000 members and works with including Hamilton Middle School, Denver Green School, Merrill Middle School, Morey Middle School, and over 40 more schools take part in YMOP.
The organization was founded by Rico Wint in 2009 because Wint saw African American and Latino Men falling into a life of violence before they even went into high school. He believed that everybody deserved a fair shot at life no matter what because life was not easy for him at first. However, after a couple months of trying and testing, YMOP finally broke through and now a decade later is still helping kids all around the city to affect their lives for the better. Even though Wint loved the program, he wanted to also create a long lasting impact with this club as well. YMOP also provides social wellness programs to go with facilitated counselor and teacher training at CU Denver and Denver Public Schools to make sure that these kids understand that violence is never the answer. On top of that, TJ and YMOP have done multiple community events so everybody can see a future where young men can grow in spaces and truly shine. However, the best of all of these qualities is that YMOP has a 97% graduation rate and 75% of YMOP high school grads are currently enrolled or graduated from a college and university.
TJ has been working with this program for the last five years and it has helped make an impact on the community as a whole. The sponsor here at TJ is none other than Wint, who spends his time and energy motivating young men throughout the Denver metro area. As a product of both Denver and Aurora Public Schools, Wint understands the plight of many inner-city young men. His passion and enthusiasm for inspiring young men to be their best selves through practical, applicable social and leadership training is evident. He has reflected his mission on these young adults which helps young men from going down the right path. Many of these young men from the earlier stages of this program now have a higher GPA and have a better future because of YMOP. Everything that is a part of this program is to help struggling African Americans for the future.
This year they are looking forward to impacting another community soon but have not decided on a project to do yet. Young Men of Purpose member Randy Yeboah said the club, “put [him] in a community that was similar to [himself]” and that “it’s like a brotherhood, and it’s fun, so why not?” For the past couple of years this group has not been able to complete any projects, but they are looking to make a huge impact this spring. It goes farther than high school and middle school; these young men who stay in this club are set up for success in life, according to Wint. A great club creates great young men, and the future for young men of color is bright at TJ.