The test for real men, love & honor
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - When Jervonte Edmonds, founder and CEO of West Palm Beach’s non profit organization Suits for Seniors, was called upon by Steve Harvey’s staff this Spring, he didn’t think it was real. The 27-year old was at the library studying stock portfolios when he got the call and was in such disbelief he even asked the producer to send over documents to prove herself true.
“She told me that Steve Harvey saw me on the Internet and liked what he saw. He wanted me to come to Atlanta to his mentoring camp to speak to 200 fatherless young men. I was in shock,” quipped Edmonds, who only started Suits for Seniors in 2015.To date he has provided a free tailored suit to over 350 high school senior boys at 15 high schools across South Florida. He also provides seminars to the boys on leadership, guidance, financial empowerment, entrepreneurship, job training and more.
“It was an honor to eventually meet him,” said Edmonds, who made the trip to Atlanta for four days in mid June. “Meeting him was very special because he also took me aside and mentored and poured into me. He is very down to earth.”
The Steve Harvey Mentoring Camp has been held at the Rock Ranch in Atlanta for numerous years.The purpose of the camp is to share and teach the principles of manhood to young boys, according to its mission statement. Leaders come from all around the world to impart into the lives of camp attendees ages 13 to 18, teaching them principles of manhood, leadership and community empowerment.
Harvey summed it up best. “We got to change what some of these young guys think manhood is because they are being raised by YouTube and videos and that doesn’t have anything to do with manhood,” Harvey told an Atlanta TV station. “It’s not about how many chains you got or the rims on your car. Real men love God, real men honor women, real men obey the law, real men go to church, real men go to work every day, and real men take care of their kids.”
Edmonds spoke to the young men about leadership and choices, as he was among Harvey’s keynote speakers. “I shared with them about how the choices you make can impact the rest of your life,” said Edmonds. He said his audience in Atlanta was quite receptive.
Edmonds said he took notice that everything Harvey does is strategic, including the location of the camp. It's all designed to give the attendees the best Harvey has to offer to turn them into productive male adults. He says the Rock Ranch is significant because its expansive, 1500 acre ranch gives the boys a chance to clear their minds and enjoy the farm animals. It’s also an attraction with amusement rides and games. The ranch was founded by the late S.Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A.
“This experience has increased my vision. I was also with other celebrities who gave me great feedback," said Edmonds.
Meanwhile Edmonds is bringing his experience back home and continues to impact lives in South Florida.
He created Suits for Seniors because when he was starting out in the working world he didn’t have a good suit to make a positive impression. Now, through sponsors, he provides the tailored suits and accessories to young men. Each participant is required to have a at least a 2.9 GPA to participate in the program that includes seminars and other life lessons.
One of his former suits recipients, Raymond Austin, who graduated from Boynton Beach High School last year, said Edmonds changed his life. “When I received the tailored suit and completed the program, it was another stepping stone in my life. It made me go after my dreams and goals. It was an honor to meet him,” he said. “He’s always in a suit. And when I’m in a suit, I feel different. I feel like I’m in charge. This program helps you to focus and make achievements that are everlasting,” said Austin.
Edmonds realizes his efforts are paying off but says his experience with Steve Harvey has motivated him to do even more for his mentees. “I saw what Steve does and it inspired me to do even better.
I was even able to pay for one boy’s tuition to attend
Steve Havey presents at his Mentoring Program for young men held at the Rock Ranch in Atlanta.
Steve Harvey, left, and Jervonte Edmonds, CEO of the West Palm Beach non-profit, Suits for Seniors, joined forces to make a difference at the Steve Harvey Mentoring Program for Young Men.