Charles Lee founded this month’s Community Spotlight—That’s My Child (TMC) Montgomery—in 2012. His mantra is “Even if it’s not your child, it’s somebody’s child. Why not be there for them?” This question underlines the organization’s efforts to harness youths’ unique gifts and help prepare them for their futures.
Lee’s upbringing in some rough streets of Chicago motivated him to begin this organization to provide positive, healthy environments for Montgomery teens. Several initiatives offer outlets for teens, including afterschool art programs promoting majorette and hip-hop dance, yoga, visual art, poetry/spoken word, culinary arts, and audio recording/engineering. Additionally, the Barbershop Book Club allows teenagers to receive a free haircut if they read and write a one-page book report on any one of the many books lining the shelves of participating local barbershops. Finally, in conjunction with Montgomery Public Schools, TMC mentors young men between the ages of 15 and 18 who need a little extra help keeping up in school and showing responsibility at home. This “Gents II Gentleman” 9-week program matches each youth to his mentor and focuses on conflict resolution, anger management, goal setting, and entrepreneurship.
In addition to TMC, Lee owns the incredibly popular local restaurant, That’s My Dog, Jr., which is a completely teen run restaurant that allows youth between the ages of 14 and 19 to learn and put into practice practical job skills in every aspect of the restaurant business.
In 2018, Lee was selected as the Montgomery Advertiser’s Community Hero for January for the stories, value, and meaning he contributes to the city. Lee’s message to youth is this: “Look at me. I walked through the same streets, maybe even worse. I had drug-addicted parents, went to prison, and I was still able to be successful. So do not give up on whatever your dreams are.”
Hill Hill Carter is proud to sponsor TMC’s inaugural Hot Dogs for Heroes held tomorrow at 6:30 pm at Kress on Dexter. Evening events are designed to honor community members who have supported TMC in their continued efforts to build a brighter future where all teens in our community are empowered and employed. Sponsorships will support That’s My Child programs dedicated to mentoring youth through arts, education, and entrepreneurship to develop the talent and skills necessary to become leaders in our community. To purchase tickets or a sponsorship package, please visit HotDogsAndHeroes.Swell.Gives.
For additional information about TMC and upcoming events, please visit www.thatsmychildmgm.org.