It’s a sure sign it’s Thursday at Randallstown Elementary School when students in the Boys in the Good club are dressed up in their ties and bow ties.
“It’s GQ Thursday,” explained 10-year-old Wesley Henry, a fifth grader in the club. “GQ stands for ‘good quality’ so that means we dress up when we come to our meetings.”
If a boy forgets a tie, there is a bin full of them in Devin Bowles’ classroom. He is one of the lead mentors of Boys in the Good.
“It shows professionalism and people take you seriously when you dress nicely,” Bowles said.
The boys even put together a tutorial on how to tie a tie properly, which is on the Boys in the Good website.
Looking sharp is only one part of this after-school club, which is made up of third, fourth and fifth grade students at Randallstown ES. James Ravenel is also a lead mentor with the group. It was started by a former Randallstown ES teacher Da’Nall Wilmer, who now teaches in Atlanta.
“It’s like an opportunity to get better skills such as manners, talking skills and how to be polite,” said Justin Feaster, a fifth grader in the club.
“I’ve learned how to be a better leader by having good mentors,” said Henry.
Boys in the Good focuses on four aims: giving, optimism, originality and determination. Each month, the boys participate in a different community service project. In October, they walked in the Susan G. Komen Maryland Race for the Cure in Columbia. In November, they collected non-perishable food items for the Maryland Food Bank.
“They get out and learn that they’re doing things for different causes, for other people and other groups outside of where they are in their community,” said Bowles.
The club also gives the boys the opportunity to evaluate and work on their strengths and weaknesses by creating goals every week.
“I need to get better at stuff like manners,” said Feaster. “Let’s say, speaking while other people are talking. I need to get better at that.”
Over time, Bowles and Ravenel watch these young boys turn into young men.
“I see growth, a see a lot of growth and maturity from the boys,” said Bowles. “I’ve seen a lot of boys achieve their goals and continue to work on those goals.”
Boys in the Good does accept donations to help cover costs for activities like field trips. They also have a line of merchandise you can purchase to show support for the club. To make a donation to the club, click here.
Wilmer also wrote a book based on the work of Boys in the Good called “The Good Book: A Kid’s Guide to Becoming a Successful Student Leader.” You can purchase it here