The Black Suit Initiative is currently accepting applications from rising 6th-8th grade students for the 2022-2023 school year.
Due to the large number of 8th grade students in our program this year, who will continue with us in high school next year, we will be unable to accommodate additional high school members at this time.
Rising 9th grade students are welcome to apply, however, they will be put on a waitlist and contacted if there are openings in 2022.
To learn more and to apply, click on the link below
On Memorial Day weekend, students abandoned their cell phones to participate in good, "old fashioned" games with their peers.
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".
Teens spend an average of 8 hours per day on their phones. These 3 young men wrote a grant which would allow BSI to host activities that would promote face to face interaction and time to turn off cell phones . This grant was awarded through the Community Foundation's Teen Grantmaking council.
Earlier this year, members of BSI were divided into 8 teams and challenged to develop a small business they could operate "right now". These teams will present their unique ideas to a panel of judges at the end of June.
Youth Of North Carolina, Inc. hosted their annual Kentucky Derby Event at B. Christopher's in Downtown Greensboro. BSI Ambassadors were on hand to receive a generous donation of $3500 from this organization. We were grateful for the opportunity to participate in this year's fun event.
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.
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.
Future Fund 10 LIVE is an innovative philanthropy pitch competition that gives 10 nonprofits a stage, both literally and figuratively, to present their modern program ideas. This year The Black Suit Initiative was selected as one of the 10 finalist to compete. Although we didn't win, this was a tremendous platform to tell our story!
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.
In preparation for their final business development presentations in June, Scott Bennett and members the NW Guilford High School Speech and Debate team, returned for their 4th year to provide public speaking techniques for BSI members.
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.
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.
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!
Your Amazon purchases can bring a smile to our organization through their Amazon Smile program.
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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 their new, all male program, “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 33 years and they have one daughter, Amariah.