By Shirley Hawkins
LONG BEACH — Everett Glenn is on a mission to help African-American young men achieve greatness.
Through his nonprofit organization, Business of Student Success, or BOSS, Glenn helps the economically disadvantaged and boys of color with the tools and skills to succeed in all aspects of their lives by fostering their intellectual, physical and emotional well-being.
Glenn, who has practiced law for 47 years, founded BOSS in 2017 and says that the nonprofit recruits boys in the sixth grade and mentors them all the way through college.
Glenn said his program operates out of Cal State Long Beach, but also meets virtually. He said his program does very well when it comes to helping young men get accepted into colleges and universities across the country.
“We service the boys on a year-round and multi-year basis, starting in middle school and give them academic enrichment and support as well as leadership and team-building skills,” Glenn said. “We also invite guest speakers to come and advise them on how to be successful. We provide academic enrichment, career exposure and networking, real world experiences and opportunities for advocacy and service.
“I love to see it when the lightbulb goes off and they’re hungry for knowledge,” he added. “We also talk to them about success principles. We emphasize that the type of person you become will determine life and career success that they will enjoy.
“A lot of what we do is to give them hope,” Glenn said. “Some of the youths don’t even believe in their own potential. That’s the first thing you give them is hope and you help them to believe. Because if you believe, all things are possible. I have a saying; ‘There’s more to you than you know and if you were to find that out, then the rest of your life you wouldn’t settle for less.’”
Glenn said that many young men dream of becoming athletes or rappers, but he said the chances of reaching success in those professions are pretty slim.
“There are so many well-paying professions that the boys can aspire to,” said Glenn, who said his program mentors a lot of student athletes. “We provide them with real-world career pathways that include consulting, engineering, global trade, law, media, medicine and technology.
“Only 1% of the boys will become professional athletes,” Glenn said. “But they can strive to become doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, scientists or even acquire jobs in the sports industry.”
Glenn said his organization emphasizes six pillars to help foster the boys’ intellectual, physical, and emotional well-being.
“There’s Mentally Boss, which emphasizes striving for mastery, self-care and awareness; Emotionally Boss, which emphasis openness to feelings and values and setting boundaries; Socially Boss, which stresses building connections, operating with integrity, strengthening one’s voice and stepping outside your comfort zone; Physically Boss, which emphasizes balancing diet and exercise, organizing your time, strengthening mind and body and setting personal goals; Economically Boss, which focuses on being money smart, observing budgets, setting life goals and saving and giving back; and Spiritually Boss; which focuses on believing in possibilities, observing ethical decisions and staying aligned as well as servant leadership.
Each spring, BOSS holds the BOSS Pillar Awards and selects one young man in each category that exhibits the qualities of the pillars and presents them with a plaque for demonstrating behavior consistent with the pillar.
There is also an annual summer program where the young men are exposed to careers and opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,
Evan Williams, 15, who joined BOSS in the eighth grade, said he is grateful to have joined the program.
“BOSS helps us to open doors to opportunities,” said Williams, whose dream is to become a professional football player. “But I’m also planning to go to college for sports medicine and become an orthopedic surgeon.”
He said the program frequently invites successful individuals to come and dispense advice to the boys.
“We’ve had NFL players, self-made entrepreneurs, millionaires, business owners and so many other individuals talk to us about their success,” he said. “They inform us about what we should do and how to be our best selves.
“I enjoy the commitment and love the BOSS mentors and Mr. Glenn have for us and how they provide us with the tools we need to have a great future,” Williams added.
“Mr. Glenn said our athletics should come after our well being. He said if you work on your craft you make a living, but if you work on yourself you make a fortune.
“BOSS supports their interests, fuels their dreams, and celebrates their pursuit of greatness,” Glenn. “We are here to help them. Whatever excuse or excuses they have or whatever issues they’ve got, let’s deal with those and let’s move beyond that.”
BOSS can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 562-619-8460.
Shirley Hawkins is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers. She can be reached at email@example.com.