Boys 2 Bowties Provides A Platform For Young Males To Become Respectable Young Men

The self-proclaimed “big brother on steroids,” Boys 2 Bowties provides a platform for young males to become respectable residents for the future. Whether it’s guiding young boys through tough life decisions, being a support team or simply teaching them how to tie a bowtie, this mentoring program counsels its youth into a more positive life direction. The main purpose of Boys 2 Bowties in Prince George’s County, Maryland is to motivate troubled boys ages 8-18 into successful young men.   

William T. Paige, a Prince George’s County native is the creator behind the non-profit, Boys 2 Bowties, which is an organization that serves as a support team for local boys. Through mentoring, consultations and workshops, this organization promotes kids to live a positive lifestyle.

“The goal is to teach cultural awareness, work ethic and accountability,” Paige said.

To ensure the young boys are successfully growing into adulthood, mentors of Boys 2 Bowties meet with the youth at least three times a week. They meet in schools, community centers, libraries, homes or churches to assist with homework, sports and general life. Boys 2 Bowties also host programs focused on financial literacy, performing arts, health awareness and friendships. Paige focuses on boys that are mostly exhibiting bad behavior in school or with the law because those kids are often overlooked or pushed aside.

“It is important to help the under-served,” he said.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation estimates an average of 9,500 students drop out of school each year in Maryland, with the highest dropout rate occurring in the county. According to Human Rights, “In every state, the proportion of blacks in prison exceeds, sometimes by a considerable amount, their proportion in the general population.” Paige aims to help his boys stay in school and avoid incarceration.

He finds participants for his program through referrals from community leaders, coaches, teachers and current participants. However, the mentors are all volunteer. Once chosen, the mentors must obtain a training certification and have a Child Protection Services (CPS) check.

Paige has a strong connection with the kids in the program because he can relate to him. As a teen, Paige was a disconnected youth as well. His issues led him into serious trouble like getting expelled from school. However, he used his struggles as inspiration to help other kids.

Also, he severed as an executive assistant to the Health Sciences Executive Team from 2014-2016 at Howard University, where he focused on career development in higher education.

Currently, Paige is very involved in his community. He is associated with programs in Prince George’s County such as re-entry programs for released offenders, feeding the underserved, race relations and the Parent Teacher Student Association at Central High School in Capitol Heights, MD.

Boys 2 Bowties has gained success because it has positively influenced many young men.

“Before I met Mr. William, I already knew about Boys 2 Bowties. If it wasn’t for him, I don’t know where I would be,” James Early, Volunteer Leader of Seat Pleasant, Maryland said.

Early often reflects on his younger days when “he was always in trouble.” But, Paige mentored him into a more positive lifestyle. Now, he has returned to mentor the next generation of boys who are going through the same issues he once faced.

“I love mentoring. Being able to put someone in the right place is a good feeling,” Early said.

This mentoring program for boys has also gained support from many corporations. Corporations that support Boys 2 Bowties are Howard University Upward Bound, Wegmans, Wawa, Chipotle, Prince George’s County Public Schools, Panera Bread, The Washington Wizards, WKYS 93.9, LoveLife Foundation. Also, Grammy nominated Artist Raheem DeVaughn, basketball star Quinn Cook of the New Orleans Pelicans and local rapper Shabazz have also supported Boys 2 Bowties.

-Contributed By Victoria Jonas 

WHUR Contributor

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