From left, Youth & Educated founder Clinton Knox III, co-founder Dominic Cooper and co-founder Leonard Brown started the foundation in 2013. Photo submitted
MTSU junior Clinton Knox III more or less stumbled upon an idea that has taken off the past couple of years.
While dining at a local restaurant , Knox and friends keenly observed how others their age interacted with themselves and employees of the restaurant, and it was quite disturbing.
“Me and a couple of my friends just noticed that they weren’t representing themselves as a regular person at all,” Knox recalled. “We saw it consistently. We saw males, females and groups, and it was distasteful at the way they were representing our generation.
“We sat there and said, ‘what can we do to help mold them to the point where they wouldn’t act like that in public?’ So, we made a website on tips of how to dress, talk with people and how to interview, etc.”
Thus, the Young & Educated foundation was founded.
“It was founded to become better youths in our society,” he said. “We had so many people reach out to us and say it was a great idea. People like it and saw we had a need for it.”
After realizing a need for such an organization, Knox came up with idea of having the organization on campus and getting it licensed as a non-profit in Tennessee.
“We got it approved in August 2013 after we started the website going in January 2013. It took six or seven months to get the non-profit,” he said. “We decided to make it on campus and reach out to people in community, especially people at MTSU.
“This summer we started an academy for males. We’ve already got five or six applications. We put them online. They can reach out on social meeting. In August we’ll hit the ground running in the fall semester.”
The Y & E foundation has already started doing great things. For example, it will award a $250 scholarship to a male and a $250 scholarship to a female this fall for text books.
“We’ve had people donate to our scholarship online,” Knox said. “They’ve helped given money this year for books. We’ve been growing and growing and it hasn’t been two years yet. There are so many who are going to benefit from the organization.”
The academy for males that will begin this fall is for incoming freshmen students. However, the Y&E is geared to recognizing all young people who are doing positive things in their community, Knox said.
“We spotlight people on the website for the positive things they are doing,” he said. “We’re not just reaching out to MTSU students, but to all young people in our community. I believe we’re all educated, just some in different ways. Some may have a skill or they volunteer in the community. Whether they go to college or not, we give them as much praise.”
Knox said the academy will meet twice monthly beginning in September at a yet to be named location on MTSU’s campus.
The first meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Sept. 14.
Knox is a 2012 graduate of Memphis Central High School and is an accounting major with a minor in business administration.
For more information about Y&E, go the foundation’s website at www.theyoungandeducated.org.