By Keyanna James
For The Birmingham Times
Cultivate 4 Mentoring marked its one-year anniversary with its inaugural Heritage Ball on Feb. 4 at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens auditorium.
Founder Leavil Binion established Cultivate 4 Mentoring, otherwise known as C4 Mentoring – in 2016 to inspire and encourage young men to discover their purpose through heritage, education, leadership and manhood.
“We exist to connect young men to their purpose,” said Binion, “The key to eradicating violence in our community is creating opportunities and having our young men understand the importance of seeking out those opportunities through their purpose,”
Justin Jett Miller, motivational speaker, entrepreneur and Bessemer-native, served as the event’s keynote speaker.
He encouraged audience members to make their life goals a priority.
“Find your dream, find your purpose and start living it out,” Miller said. “I am blessed, I am a dreamer, I am successful.”
C4 Mentoring works with 32 young men at Smith Middle School on Tuesdays, both during school and after school.
The mentors are a combination of Birmingham-area business men but C4 is looking to expand their program with more mentors.
C4 co-founder Jermaine Johnson called for high school seniors, college students and other young men to serve as mentors.
All services for the ball were donated. No tickets were sold. Invitations were given to donors who contributed $50 or more to the organization.
Moms of young men who are a part of the mentoring expressed gratitude for the program.
“He is more inquisitive, and communicative; C4 has given him more to aspire to,” Melissa Robbins said about her middle school age son Caleb.
LaKecia Godfrey offered similar statements about her son Nathaniel.
“He gets to see regular men being men,” said Godfrey. “I can’t teach him that.”