We at the 573 Magazine hang on to a worthy cause — optimism and passion. Traditionally people have looked upon words like ‘passion’ and ‘optimism’ with reverence. They are considered as motivational ideals and vehicles to success.
Today, these words are frequently overused by people on social media to convince others that their preferred topic is worthy of your attention. No matter how worn-out these words seem, I will always be a champion of optimism, passion, and honor. They represent all that is good in the world.
Recently, I was introduced to a man who believes in these words. Honesty, passion, and optimism mean a lot to this guy — way more than just overused words online. Meet Cantrell Andrews.
573: Tell us about your family.
I’m the oldest of three kids. I have a younger brother and a younger sister. My sister works as an RNA, and my brother works at the Shawnee Center. We moved here from Chicago when I was in the 2nd grade. I attended Jefferson Elementary, Cape Central Middle School, Cape Central Junior High, and Cape Central High School. I played football, basketball, and ran track. I walked on the 2011 SEMO football team and met my future colleagues Wyky Jean and Kweku Arkorful. I graduated in 2014 with my bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a minor in social work. After graduation, I worked as an emergency responder/youth transporter for the 32nd Judicial Circuit Juvenile office and as a UPS worker. Later, I moved to Paducah, Kentucky, for a position as a youth worker in a juvenile detention center. I worked there for a year and then moved back to Cape.
573: Tell us about the organization.
We started Honorable Young Men Club (HYMC) in 2016. Before we volunteered in schools, we spent our time at the local Salvation Army and the Bridge Church to help with boxing supplies and mentorship. My mother Toni Pearson, who worked as a parent liaison at the Central Middle School for over ten years, asked if my close friends and I would come up with a program that would mentor at-risk students. Once we put the program together, we were sat down with the school principal, Rex Crosnoe, to present our creation. Mr. Crosnoe loved the idea of us mentoring at-risk students. We volunteered one day a week for eight months before being hired as full-time mentors. In fall 2016, we resigned from our current occupations. I stepped away as a sales rep at Signature Packaging. Wyky Jean left his position as manager at Andy’s. Kweku Arkorful gave up his title as Intramural Coordinator at SEMO. Aaron Adeoye vacated his job as a detailer at Nissan. Ever since then we’ve been working with the Central Middle School and Central Junior High School. We currently have over 190 students and four mentors. HYMC teaches adolescents how to become respectable men. We teach them the characteristics of being a man such as showing respect, shaking a hand properly, and tying a tie. Our program is based on our seven core values: integrity, giving back, respect, accountability, duty, enthusiasm, and self-awareness. Our sessions take place during the school day. At Central Middle School, we have six 45-minute sessions every Tuesday and Thursday with about 7-10 students. We hold similar courses at the Junior High on Monday and Wednesday.
573: Why is it important to mentor kids?
I think it’s just important to help kids in general. ‘Mentor’ is just a title- anyone can help and not have that mentor title. Being a mentor doesn’t make my advice more valuable than someones else’s advice. I feel we need to help kids because they’re the future. Older generations typically complain about the younger generation and what they’re doing wrong. My question is: why not give them advice and help them? My future children won’t look up to me no matter how cool I may seem, but they will look up to the current adolescent generation that we didn’t help. So why not lead the generation that will one day lead your kid’s generation? The kids we work with especially need guidance and mentorship because they may not get it in their daily environment.
You help the Honorable Young Men’s Club at: FaceBook.com/HonorableYoungMenClub