What I absolutely love about the age of the internet is the ability to meet people that you may never have met before. While I was pregnant with my now 11 year old son I joined babycenter.com a community for women who are in the family way, or planning to be. It had been 13 years since I had a baby. I was 35 and had moved from NJ to NC. I found company in the babycenter community where I found lively discussions about everything mommy related. If you have ever participated in an online community it can be a hotbed of discussion. Conversations from politics to breast feeding can abound on parenting boards. In one particular online conversation about politics there was a voice that was clear, funny and transparent. Evelyn was one of the voices that defended the most disenfranchised of our society.
As our children aged out of that platform we began to keep in touch via Facebook. Always with encouraging words we comment on one each others post, and inbox one another encouraging words. We’ve watched our boys grow up online, but you never know what is going on behind the computer keyboard. You never really know a persons story until you stop and pick up the phone and speak with them. I wanted to have a conversation with Evelyn, not just because it was time to, but because she has created a charity named Prom King.
Headquartered in the Bronx, Prom King is a non-profit organization created for young men who are attending prom and may not have the resources to purchase a suit. Similar to the many prom dress charities for young women Evelyn felt that young men were being left behind on such a milestone of academic accomplishments.
During our conversation I was able to find out what inspired Evelyn and what her goals are for the future of Prom King.
EVELYN on Prom King: I was unemployed and on welfare. I have had this idea for a while and not working is a good time to share your talents. I also needed a win. Just one small win to keep me going. So many boys don’t have the resources to purchase a suit for prom. I wanted to help. I started asking men that I knew and people really responded. Used, new I take it all. A suit can take a man so far, its so versatile. You can wear it to prom, an interview, or an interview. Lot’s of young brothers don’t even realize that about suits. There are no limits to where we will take this. Right now we are working on chapters in different cities like Oakland and Charlotte.
Me: Did you know how to tie a tie?
EVELYN: No, I YouTubed a million videos to learn! I had to know what I was doing to be believable.
EVELYN on Parenting: I got 99 problems and my son ain’t one! My parenting philosophy is based on the Kahlil Gibran passage “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.”
Me: “…You may give them your love but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts….”
EVELYN on Relationships: I’ve learned a lot about myself, I used to enter relationships to prove that I was lovable more than wanting to love. I’ve also learned to be grateful for the quiet in a relationship. They (relationships) don’t need to be noisy and dramatic. I do have someone that has taught me some of these lessons.
Evelyn is a great example the being a Matriarch is ageless. As a leader in her community, and using her talents and gifts during a personal economic downtime, she has made one of her many dreams a reality. If you would like to donate a suit or accessories to Prom King visit www.PromKing.org and join the facebook page. You can read more about it in Decembers issue of O Magazine!