Through his non-profit That’s My Child, Charles Lee is giving area young people the security and skills needed to excel and make positive contributions to our community.
What is the mission of That’s My Child?
To mentor youth through arts and entrepreneurship while giving them a safe place to develop talent and learn new skills to become tomorrow’s productive citizens.
How do you go about fulfilling this mission?
We offer a number of programs and initiatives that target high-need areas in our community. The Barbershop Book Club promotes literacy by placing bookshelves in barbershops that offer free haircuts to kids who check out the books and read. Our Gents to Gentlemen program mentors at-risk young men. We also run an after-school program centered on the arts in which we offer tutoring, performance arts, theater, visual and culinary arts, yoga, bucket drums and more. These programs inspire youth as they discover their talents and develop passionate career and life goals.
What motivated you to start That’s My Child?
Growing up in the rough, gang-riddled streets of Chicago and later becoming incarcerated, I was inspired to donate my time and efforts to provide a family-like support system and “way out” for less fortunate teens. I believe that giving teens a positive outlet where they can learn skills and express themselves will give them an escape from their rough neighborhoods, help them to cope with trauma and ultimately, open doors for a better future. While still in Chicago, at age 13, I was shot, and that motivated my mother to relocate our family to Montgomery.
What’s your favorite thing about your work?
Teaching kids how to become dreamers. I feel it’s a great honor to give kids dreams.
Please name an accomplishment that you are particularly proud of.
I just finished a book that I’ve been working on for three years. So be on the lookout.
Setting an Example:
“I have prayed to be the ultimate example of hope by showing others through my life that it doesn’t matter where you come from or how you begin your journey, but with faith and hope mixed with hard work and dedication, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.