Semaj’s Story

Students at Martin Luther King Jr. Technology Academy are learning valuable lessons at Freedom Hall, a mentoring program for urban fatherless young men, directed by Shoulder To Shoulder (STS). It is opening new doors for fatherless youth like Semaj, one of the program’s top students.

When Semaj came to Freedom Hall as a seventh-grader, he stood out as a young man with tremendous potential and a hunger to improve. It took a lot of patience and love for him to realize his potential.

Before coming to Freedom Hall, Semaj had not worked as hard as he could to be the best student he could be because of the many difficult challenges and overwhelming stress in his personal life, due in part to his father who was missing in his life.

But with the caring guidance of dedicated mentors at Freedom Hall, Semaj became more focused and self-confident. He was able to move from a D student to a B student in eighth grade.

Semaj and his mother are strong believers in Freedom Hall. When they moved outside the Twin Rivers Unified School District boundaries, Semaj was determined to stay with Freedom Hall. His mother agreed, and Semaj rode the city bus and light rail one hour to and from school each day.

Semaj’s mom mentioned to us that Semaj was ready to be baptized. After counseling about what baptism meant, a staff member performed Semaj’s baptism in his pool with his family along with 60 friends, a few young men from Freedom Hall and STS staff on hand.

We are proud of Semaj and all the other urban fatherless young men God has brought to Freedom Hall. We look forward to our journey with our urban fatherless young men through their high school graduation. Please see for more information about Freedom Hall.

Read more