When Semaj came to Freedom Hall as a seventh-grader, he stood out as a young man with tremendous potential but overwhelming stress in his personal world, because of the father who was missing in his life.
With the caring guidance of the dedicated mentors at STS, Semaj became more self-confident and quickly improved from a D student to earning solid Bs in eighth grade, even though he had to ride the city bus an hour each way to get to Freedom Hall!
Semaj grew in character too. When his mom mentioned that he was interested in being baptized, STS staff counseled him on this decision, and Semaj was baptized in a staff member’s pool as over 60 friends and mentors from STS looked on and celebrated.
Semaj’s story is just one of the many we see unfolding in our journey with urban fatherless young men. With your help, even more lives can change!
Freedom Hall is a free, youth development initiative designed to at-risk urban generationally fatherless young boys to live a life free of drugs, alcohol, violence, abuse, pre-marital sex and other influences that lead to limiting their future opportunities.
We seek to affirm them, accept them for who they are, not what they’ll become and love our young men and encourage them down the path of righteousness and avoid the path that leads to destruction, and possible death.
We do this in partnership with their single moms in Moms Helping Moms, with the help of staff, and well trained and experienced mentors primarily from area businesses and churches.
STS has served over 250 fatherless boys since November 2007 by providing character development and life skills training through long-term mentoring relationships combined with field trips, service-learning experiences, and other enrichment activities.
The outcome leads to hope, young boys taking responsibility for their lives, healthy lifestyles, improved academic performance, more developed leadership and enhanced life skills.
Freedom Hall matches a fatherless young boy from 4th through 12th grades with a mentor committed to meet a minimum of 2 hours weekly, or 4 hours bi-weekly. Success readiness workshops, Friday Nite Live, camping and hiking trips and other special outings and events to expose the mentor and mentee to upcoming issues and matters in life that need preparation.
Mentors are screened and attend over 10 hours of training to prepare them to be successful mentors with their mentees. They are committed to building a relationship around common interests, strengths and fun!
STS impact on individuals, families and the community:
“I started coming to Freedom Hall for the video games, but I kept coming for the information I was hearing that I never heard before. They taught me a new way of doing life.” – Semaj Horace, Freedom Hall Graduate, 2014
“Mentoring at Freedom Hall is the highlight of my week.” – Van Wong, M.D., Freedom Hall Mentor
“I love (STS) because it has improved my school tremendously, especially my boys—their behavior and their performance. I have had boys who have gone from 1.0 GPA to 3.0, so it has made a powerful difference.” – Sam Harris, Former Principal at MLKTA
Be The Change – Become an STS Mentor