Dandy Youth Development: Making a Difference

King Tisdale Cottage Foundation Gala
King Tisdale Cottage Foundation Gala

Dandy Youth Development (DYD) was founded in 2015 by Dr. J. Alphonso Dandy in an effort to combat the negative statistics and low expectations promoted against African American boys and young men in America. He is convinced that if Black boys and young men are given the preparation and opportunity to excel, they can and will succeed. The mission of DYD is to teach, train, groom and develop young Black boys and men to be productive leaders in our society. The initial inspiration for this endeavor comes from a childhood experience of the Dandy family, told here by Dr. Dandy.

When I was thirteen years of age, my father abandoned the family of six children. In order to survive, my mother became a domestic during the day and a seamstress at night. One day when my mother and I were walking to the grocery store to buy food for the family with the only twenty dollars we owned, we met a lady whom my mother barely knew. She confessed to my mother her dire financial woes. Touched by her dilemma, my mother gave this lady the entire twenty dollars, and she and I walked back home.

Community Service at Second Harvest
Community Service at Second Harvest

For the life of me, I could not understand why my mother gave her all of the money. I wondered if she had lost her mind. How could she do that? The next day, after I had built up enough nerve to question her, this is what my mother said to me, “The lady had a greater need than we did, and I know that the Lord would bless us and provide for us.”

Outstanding Men of Color Wall
Outstanding Men of Color Wall

This experience shaped my life and has instilled in me the desire to help others. I have pondered about just what I could do to give back to a community that has provided me with resources to educate my children and live a comfortable life.

I would construct a nurturing environment with tutorials and mentoring by positive role models and provide essential resources for these young men. God provided the key players: Ms. Cassandra Wint, Executive Director, with a wealth of experience, having worked day to day with the late Dr. Dorothy Height, CEO of the National Council of Negro Women, Washington, D.C. I chose an Advisory Board comprised of six experienced and committed educators. Numerous community leaders have volunteered to provide relevant workshops and seminars. My Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity brothers volunteered to become mentors and tutors.

Thus far, we have provided a comprehensive curriculum that includes Educational Skills: the historical contributions of Savannah’s Black community, instruction in basic English skills, language, composition and public speaking; Social skills: how to control your anger, problem-solving, dealing with bullying, how to be a gentleman, etiquette, grooming and dressing for success and guy talk; Business principles: completing job applications, college preparation and scholarship applications, developing good work ethics, the steps in setting up a bank account, the importance of a good credit report; Biblical principles: the power of prayer, how to become a leader, how to be a man; and Team skills: physical fitness and golf, chess, and tennis lessons.

Presently, the DYD Program has fourteen young men, ten of whom are honor students. Our goal is to grow to twenty-five by the end of the year. Future seminars will include how to set up a savings account. We plan future field trips to the Civil Rights Museum in Washington, DC, a Broadway show in New York City, The Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, and other cultural events.

We are instilling in these young men the mentality and skills they need to shape society. We may be developing future mayors, college professors, doctors, lawyers, military officers and even presidents.

We invite the community to call for an appointment to tour our facilities and offer their services through relevant workshops and seminars. We have specialized tutoring rooms named for outstanding leaders: Ms. Esther Garrison, Mrs. Gwendolyn Goodman, Dr. Algenon Dandy, and Mr. Artie Milton. The facility has a wall of leaders, featuring more than fifty “Outstanding Men of Color” national, local and community role models who have shaped our society.

The Dandy Youth Development Corporation is a 501c3 organization and donations are tax deductible. We invite you to visit our website dandyydc.org and like us on Facebook Dandy Youth Development@SAVDYDC. We are located at 3709 Waters Avenue @54th Street, Savannah, GA. 31404

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