JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Sunday marked 10 years since local non-profit Operation Save Our Sons opened its doors.
The organization focuses on equipping and empowering young African-American males to make positive decisions and succeed in life.
Founders and community members gathered inside St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church on Sunday to commemorate Operation Save Our Sons’ decade-long commitment to creating change in Jacksonville.
“Oftentimes in the community, we focus on the negative, nobody talks about the solution. Operation Save Our Sons brings solutions to the community that can curb the violence, that can increase education, and can increase graduation rates,” said Alphonso McClendon, Chairperson of the Board of Directors.
The organization empowers young Black males by exposing them to a series of networking opportunities and positive role models.
This program gave 18-year-old Jeffrey Francis the confidence to aspire for greatness.
“I think representation matters. So, when young Black men see other Black men in the roles, they want to be in it’s going to motivate them and want them to do the same thing,” said Jeffrey Francis, high school student member of Operation S.O.S.
Representation is also the catalyst for 18-year-old Mykal Bolden.
“Due to us being on the Northside there’s a good population of us growing up without a father in our life. For me, my personal experience, it’s been a lot of me and my mom. So, you know we missed that masculine teaching that we need,” said Bolden, high school student member of Operation S.O.S.
This 10th anniversary celebrates and honors the work the organization has done thus far but also highlights the work they continue to take to make a difference in the lives of young African-American males.
“We get them off the street and give them a hope and future. That’s what we want to accomplish decades to come,” said McClendon.
For more information on Operation S.O.S. visit Ososnational.org.