KCK youth mentor program focusing on positive role models, financial responsibility

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. – A staff member at a KCK elementary school is trying to make a difference in young men’s lives by introducing them to more positive role models.

Moses Wyatt founded the Boys to Men Klub at Grant Elementary School two years ago. The behavioral intervention specialist said there weren’t a lot of men at the school when he started working there.

“Studies show that when positive males are present in the academic setting, then behavior gets better, grades rise, the effects of crime or being involved in crime go down,” he said.

The mentoring program is for 3rd, 4th and 5th grade boys at the school. Wyatt and a counselor at the school focus on three main points: what it takes to be successful, career opportunities and building relationships.

“We wanted to give them a foundation as they move forward on what it looks like to be successful,” Wyatt said.

The boys meet once a week during recess and learn about respect, creativity, leadership and academic success, among other topics. Every month, they can attend an even social and mingle and hear from men in the community who have careers.

“They are intrigued by seeing this person is just like me, walks like me, talks like me,” Wyatt said. “They meet us and talk and see we’re down to earth.

One key element of the program is teaching the boys financing and banking.

“We live in an area -- and our demographics -- where poverty is high, and some of poverty is because of not knowing and not managing [money properly],” Wyatt said.

The boys learn how earn money, pay bills, balance checks. They get play money for different accomplishments. Those who save $2,500 in play money will get to go on a field trip.

Kendra Murphy has a third-grader in the program.

“I was excited for my son to be able to finally join,” she said.

Murphy’s church, New Life Family, partners with the program to feed the boys. The kindergarten teacher said she appreciates the different perspectives the young men get to hear.

“I think it’s just good to help the kids see what’s out there beyond the little city block that they live in,” she said. “A lot of them don’t travel that much out of their neighborhood.”

Wyatt said he wants to show the boys that there are people in the community who care about them and their future.

“Having someone that is positive in your life really means something,” he said. “Sometimes, you just need that person that’s always in your corner that helps you stay on the right course.”

The Boys to Men Klub is only offered at Grant Elementary School. Wyatt said he hopes to branch out to other schools in the district in the future.

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