The test for real men, love & honor

South Florida Times - - FRONT PAGE - By DAPHNE TAY­LOR

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.

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