Charles Aris, international executive recruiting and staffing firm located in downtown Greensboro, hosted the middle and high school members of BSI to a morning filled with exploring unique career opportunities. Rebecca Conway, a Charles Aris Associate Practice Leader/DEI Manager, developed a 4 hour workshop allowing BSI members the opportunity to hear the personal stories and triumphs of men in working in the areas of engineering, law enforcement, law, technology, marketing, construction/cabling, and medicine.
Students were able to work in smaller groups with these men and have an in-depth conversations about the educational requirements, career expectations, and opportunities for growth in these fields.
The Black Suit Initiative is a now accepting applications or rising 6th-10th grade students in Greensboro and surrounding areas. The deadline to apply is July 1, 2023. To learn more and apply, click on the link below.
Scroll to next section to apply for Lynchburg, VA pilot program.
Being a teenager can be stressful, so we enlisted the assistance of The Activation Lab, LLC to host a yoga session for our middle & high school members. At the end of these sessions, members partook in a refreshing glass of seamoss lemonade.
Members of BSI decided to raise money for the Cone Health Mammography Scholarship fund. In October, middle and high school members walked 2.5 miles to raise over $1100 for this life saving cause.
Middle school members spent an autumn morning immersed in the Van Gogh exhibit in Raleigh. Following this interactive exhibits, members took a beautiful train ride back to Greensboro.
If you attended the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. parade in Greensboro, you would have seen BSI members serving as marshals throughout the parade's route. We were honored to have been selected to serve.
Members of the Community Outreach team spent a Saturday morning cleaning our adopted streets. Quarterly, members will clean W. Terrell/Orchard Streets in an effort to keep our community clean.
In an effort to bring reading content to life, we allowed members to participate in a fencing class to correlate with a novel they completed last school year called,, "Black Brother, Black Brother". This novel's theme was based around two brothers and their love for fencing.
The Greensboro Fencing Academy allowed our members to participate in a workshop which provided students with basic fencing techniques and equipment knowledge.
Middle and high school members spent a Saturday creating craft items to deliver to elderly residents at Maple Grove. Members visited rooms delivering creative artwork, smiles and listening ears. Residents were eager to share their stories with these kind-hearted young men.
BSI members and their families attended the Hip Hop Nutcracker at the Tanger Center in downtown Greensboro. This Emmy Award winning production incorporated old and new school hip hop with classical music and dance. It was a memorable performance.
After three months of research and product development, 8 teams presented their small business concepts to a panel of judges to see who would walk away with the grand prize for best "right now" business. In the 6th-7th grade division, "The Brew Crew" won with their healthy brewed tea and in the 8th-12th grade division, Designer Sweets won with their vegan shortbread cookie.
After a two year travel hiatus, BSI took its graduates and ambassadors on a 3 day field trip to Charleston, SC. Members enjoyed the sights, tastes and sounds of Charleston. A portion of their stay included an evening at Folly Beach.
Katherine Malet, of "Breathe Poetry" facilitated a workshop to help BSI members tap into their creative side. Members wrote and presented poems about their "super powers".
Jim Galluci, local sculptor who has his artwork displayed across the United States, opened his studio to the public for his annual Iron Pour. BSI members created scratch molds for the iron pour, as well as participated in welding, forging and glass blowing.
Our recentl BSI graduates are on their way to continue their next chapter in life.
Le-Quan Robinson-West Virginia Weslyn
Justus Skeets-NC A&T
Zac Horton-Working full time at GIA
Myles Luster-Florida A&M
As BSI prepares for its expansion into Lynchburg, VA, as a gesture of goodwill, youth ambassadors packed over 200 bags with school supplies and distributed at a community day hosted by Diamond Hill Baptist Church.
In April, ACC marketing director, Carl Hairston, took to the runway as one of our fashion models for our annual "Grand Entrance" fashion show. The next month he became a "role model" as he spoke to BSI members about his early life and his career path in marketing.
On April 29, 2020, the life of one of our BSI graduates, Deionte Hall, was tragically cut short. We wanted to make sure the incredible legacy of this young man continued. A memorial scholarship fund was established in his honor by his mother. Three graduates received these first scholarships in recognition of their outstanding leadership and community service.
Two bus loads of BSI members traveled to the Durham Performing Arts Center, in February, to see Black Violin, a Grammy nominated, hip hop duo from Florida, comprised of two classically trained string instrumentalists, Kevin Sylvester and Wilner Baptiste.
Back by popular demand, 2012 graduate, Chef Julian, hosted 2 virtual cooking demonstrations for middle and high school students. Middle school students made Shepherd's Pie and high school students, Chicken Milano. Generous donors allowed us the opportunity provide members with all the ingredients needed to cook each meal.
A big thank you is extended to our major program sponsors for 2021-2022. This year's expansion would not have been possible without you!
The Black Suit Initiative hosted its signature fundraising, The Grand Entrance, on Saturday, April 9 at the Elm & Bain Event Center in downtown Greensboro. This all-male fashion show, featured 19 men from the Triad who are making a positive impact in the community.
Dillard's at Four Seasons was the clothing sponsor and outfitted these super (role) models with the latest in spring fashions. These men broke out of their comfort zones to take to the runway in support of the young men in The Black Suit Initiative.
The first scene was "virtual fashion". This segment had models wearing attire for a virtual meeting. Models wore conservative tops and fun bottoms such as pajama pants, basketball shorts or comfy jeans and socks. The other 2 scenes were more traditional attire with some precious little models who wore spring dresses to match their dad's outfit.
Most models took the traditional runway walk, while some were a little more creative. Dr. James Osborne, a sleep physician, invited his wife to an impromptu ballroom dance on the runway. There was nothing "sleepy" about his runway performances.
The final scene featured some unsung heroes. These men worked in careers that were vital during the peak of the pandemic. A police officer, grocery store employee, custodial technician, physician, food delivery driver, truck driver , and a school bus driver were represented in this final segment.
Your generous support made this event a HUGE success! Thank you for believing in our vision.
The Sparrow’s Nest , Inc. was developed to engage youth in leadership initiatives in an effort to prevent crime and drug activity and develop educational, artistic and character building skills to better prepare them for their transition to college or career.
In 2016, The Sparrow’s Nest, Inc., launched an all male program called “The Black Suit Initiative”.
This leadership and community engagement program allows young men in middle and high school, the opportunity to improve academic performance, explore their career interests and participate in positive team building exercises. The successful completion of program modules allows these young men the opportunity to earn their own full black suit at the completion of the first year.
Young men are selected to be in the program through an application and interview process during the month of June. Members can remain in the organization until they graduate from high school.
The logic behind the black suit is based upon a new study conducted by the psychology department at California State University. They discovered wearing a suit does change thought processes. The study found formal clothing improved confidence levels and changed the basic way respondents perceived the world. Wearing a suit encourages people to use abstract processing more readily than concrete processing.
Born in Lynchburg, VA, Evainna W. Ross has dedicated most of her life to helping youth secure better educational and economic opportunities through the development of her nonprofit organization, The Sparrow's Nest, Inc.
Upon graduating from North Carolina A&T State University with a B.S. in Public Relations in 1991, Ross began her journey working with youth under the leadership of the late civil rights pioneer, Rev. Prince E. Graves. Ross spent six years volunteering as the youth director of St. James Baptist Church increasing their youth programs' participation substantially.
Ross took what she learned at St. James Baptist Church and developed a community based model and launched The Sparrow's Nest, Inc. in Claremont Courts, a public housing community in Greensboro in October 2008. The Sparrow's Nest , Inc. was a mobile service which provided free programs on Saturdays such as ballroom dancing, sculpting, culinary arts and public speaking directly to youth in 4 of the largest public housing communities in Greensboro. Because of the growing popularity of these programs, Ross felt she wasn't making a lasting impact only seeing youth in these communities once a month. For that reason, in 2010, Ross, with a panel of educators and business owners, interviewed and selected 50 middle and high school youth to be members of a leadership program called The Chosen 50. The majority of these youth were selected from the communities she had served prior. These youth remained in the program until they graduated high school.
During their time in the program, these youth were empowered to make positive decisions for their lives as well as their communities. These youth have developed their own small businesses, developed political campaigns, created a stock portfolio and learned how to purchase their own homes and cars.
In 2014, Ross was recognized nationally by the Ascena Retail Group as an "everyday hero" who has dedicated her life to making the world a better place by empowering children in the areas of education, social support and self-esteem.
The Sparrow's Nest, Inc. has continued to evolve into a program which addresses the need of an ever-changing society. In 2016 they launched their newest division, The Black Suit Initiative, an all male leadership and community engagement program for middle and high school students.
Ross has been married to Kevin for 34 years and they have one daughter, Amariah.