Presented in partnership with T-Mobile
Imagine being three friends who, at a young age, formed a bond around giving back and influencing others to be their best selves. It’s a trait not easily found in teenagers, yet, for Pittsburgh teens Terrell Galloway, Sean Spencer and Isreal Williams — the founders of Future Kings Mentoring — it is what separates them from their peers.
Now the three are taking their idea to another level, having been selected as one of the finalists for T-Mobile’s second annual Changemaker Challenge Contest, a competition that brings together the brightest and most passionate young social entrepreneurs from across the country to build community while offering mentorship and support for their projects.
As one of the 30 finalists for the T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge, Terrell and Sean, the creators of Future Kings Mentoring were given the opportunity to visit T-Mobile’s headquarters in Bellevue, WA. for the three-day Changemaker Lab in February. At the Lab, they were able to meet with other finalists in the contest, talk to experts in finance, marketing and more and “pitch” their big idea to a group of T-Mobile leaders for feedback and advice on how to take their project to the next level.
Given their success and passion, it’s easy to see why Terrell, Sean and Isreal have landed where they have. BroBible got the chance to chat with two of the three founders of Future Kings Mentoring to discover more about their idea, as well as what the future holds.
Can You Describe What Future Kings Mentoring Does?
At some point in our early lives, we found ourselves in situations that exposed the harsh realities of our society. We watched the kids we play with go to jail at young ages, and others being afraid during daily activities in our own neighborhoods. Thankfully, we could find spaces that gave us hope for the future. Future Kings Mentoring exists to be that greater place in the Pittsburgh community and to make our experience the standard.
Why Do You Think This Is So Important To Your Community?
Sean: “For us, growing up, we didn’t have many black people to look up to — even if that just meant going to college. It wasn’t until we got to high school that we really discovered some great mentors and role models, who helped give us guidance and direction, and that made a big impact on us. It gave us an understanding of why it’s important give back, and we want our community to represent that as well.”
Who Have You Looked Up To As Mentors In Your Life?
Sean: “Some mentors who have inspired me are people like Malcolm X and Tupac Shakur, who helped teach me how to be a man, and how to be a leader within your community; regardless of consequences or opposition. They showed me by example, how to speak up and accomplish anything I set my mind to.”
Terrell: “One of my role models is our third member, Isreal Williams, who has always been one to ask people about their needs and is always giving tips and guidance to hold you accountable to achieve your goals.
“Another role model who I haven’t met, but would like to get the chance to, is LeBron James. He’s already done something that we’d like to do in the future — which is start our own school — and he’s been able to use his platform to give back and inspire other people through it.”
Can You Describe The Biggest Challenge You’ve Experienced While Building The Initiative?
Sean: “For me, it’s just understanding exactly what we’re building, and figuring out the logistics of it. Not only how to file for the proper paperwork, but then to understand all the different tasks that go into starting something like Future Kings Mentoring. From creating a social media plan, to picking a president, to setting a financial plan, it’s figuring out all the moving parts.”
Terrell: “It’s figuring out how to pitch and work with investors, which is exciting. Another challenge for us is our focus, and the perception that we only care about young black males. But we’re actually considering launching a sisterhood program, called Future Queens Mentoring. We’re looking for young black women to help lead that program, so our representation is important.
Sean: “Absolutely. It’s important for people to know that while we are focused on supporting black men, we’re inclusive to all males, so it doesn’t matter what color you are, as long as you have the desire to be a leader in your community, then we’re going to help you get to where you need to be.”
How Are You Solving Such Challenges?
Sean: “No matter what challenges we face, the three of us have such a brotherhood it doesn’t matter, we’re going to get through it. We also reach out to other mentors of ours to stay focused and get advice from their experiences.
Terrell: “The Future Kings mentality is what pushes us forward. Being confident and knowing your voice, all those types of things help us stay focused on how to be great, and how to overcome any obstacles that may come our way.”
Where Can People Get Involved With Future Kings Mentoring?
What Does It Mean To Be A Top Team In T-Mobile’s Changemaker Challenge?
Sean: “It’s been an incredible experience so far. Just to meet so many people, and to talk with so many Changemakers, there’s such genuine care between everyone. It’s inspiring to see all the ways we can make changes in our communities.”
“The people at T-Mobile have been so helpful and welcoming to their city and organization. We’re learning a lot from them, and it’s a great networking opportunity for us.”
Terrell: “I think it’s just been great to sit down and talk with everyone. All the people we’ve met have been truly inspiring and so unique, so it’s been great to collaborate and talk about how they can help with our program, and how we can help with their program. It’s a great community, has inspired such growth, and we’ve appreciated the opportunity. It’s just been awesome.”
What’s Been The Most Memorable Experience From The T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge?
Sean: “Personally, it’s just been the whole process, because we found out about the T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge just two days before the application was due, through our third member, Isreal. Being from the east coast, we were up till 3 a.m. trying to get the application in, and we got it in about 30 minutes before time was up. Throughout the whole thing, I just remember saying, ‘We’re going to win. We’re going to win.’ I just had confidence that we had a great idea and that we were going to make this work.”
Terrell: “Just being provided the chance to share a mantra passed down from a mentor: I am great, you are great, we are great! To see how people accepted that and loved it, that was awesome, and it was truly humbling to see.”
Any Advice For Other Hopeful Entrepreneurs?
Terrell: “The biggest thing that’s pushed us this far is that we know our why. We’re committed to our why and our passion. Every conversation we have with somebody, we always refer back to our passion. We really don’t spend a lot of time sitting around brainstorming or pitching what we do, but we really spend a lot of nights on why we’re doing what we’re doing, and putting ourselves in the shoes of the people we’re helping.”
Sean: “Once you realize your passion, and what you want to do and why you want to do it, everything else comes naturally. So, it’s important to never give up. Don’t let anybody else derail you from what you want to do, because there will be a lot of outside noise. You need to block that out, and just remind yourself that you know your why, you know your purpose, and nothing will get in the way of being successful.”
What’s The Dream Scenario When It Comes To Future Kings Mentoring?
Terrell: “As we develop more leaders through Future Kings, there will be less of a need for our program, but we want to expand on that success and, as I said earlier, start our own school. That’s something we’re truly passionate about and will give us a chance to help others in a variety of ways.”
Sean: “I want to see us have an influence on everything within different communities. A community garden, a bank, a department store; at Future Kings, we have the ability to make a change, and that’s a dream scenario if we can make that happen.”
See more about Future Kings Mentoring by following them on Instagram, where you can be part of their upcoming journey or donate to help their organization thrive at Go Fund Me. You can also join the conversation on social media by searching the hashtag #TMOChangemaker.
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