Changing Young Lives

Boys Mentoring Program Thrives with Help from the Florida SBDC at FAU

Changing young lives

By Shavantay Minnis

Richard 'Coach' Dunn grew up without a strong male role model. But, after spending 25 years coaching boys’ youth basketball, he recognized the importance of mentoring young men to help shape and guide future generations.

That’s when Dunn decided to found a nonprofit mentoring program called Men2Boys – but this was not an average boys-to-men mentoring group. The organization focuses on the outreach of older men in his community, much like himself, and how those men can pour into the younger, fatherless generation.

“It is not that easy to walk into a boy’s life,” Dunn said. “They have to know you care. The trust and respect must be earned.”

Men2Boys mentoring group encourages, empowers and equips young high school and middle school boys, ages 11 to 18, to make smart responsible decisions. Guided through group discussions, workshops and life activities led by older male mentors, the program works inside Broward county schools and at other mentoring centers.

As Men2Boys approached 10 years old, Dunn said he found himself looking for a mentor again – but this time, he needed a business mentor to help him move his nonprofit to the next level.

That’s when he sought business assistance through the Children's Services Council of Broward County and met with his old-time friend George Gadson. With Gadson as his lead consultant, Dunn was connected with the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Florida Atlantic University (FAU).

Dunn said with Gadson and Florida SBDC at FAU in his corner, he’s confident that Men2Boys will continue to flourish and help shape generations to come.

“Connecting with George was perfect. I use him as a sound board regularly, and my confidence as a nonprofit business owner and a CEO has increased tenfold.” Dunn said. “I will always rely on his voice when it is time to move forward in business.”