16Ways Foundation, incorporated September 1, 2010, is a non-profit organization under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The foundation’s main goal is to impact youth through literacy and athletic programs.
It is not about us; it is about them… OUR youth, OUR future!
Provide Education Development - Demonstrate the importance of academia through literacy programs
• Build Self-Esteem & Social-Awareness - Provide resources needed for youth to reach their highest personal potential and to achieve their goals
• Engage Mentors - Provide positive role models
• Leadership: Stress the importance and provide opportunities for youth to be leaders among their peers
• Healthy Lifestyles - Stress the importance of incorporating physical fitness in order to maintain a fit body and mind
• Partnering - Partner with organizations with similar goals and objectives to cross promote the foundation’s efforts
• Promote Volunteerism & Community - Demonstrate the importance of giving one’s time and energy to worthwhile initiatives
• Provide Education Development - Demonstrate the importance of academia through literacy programs
• Fundraising - Continue to seek opportunities to fund ongoing programs
HOW IT ALL STARTED
“Destructive selfishness” was actually the motivator behind the birth of 16Ways Foundation. Co-Founder and President Derrick Kelley recounts his early 20’s as a time in which he recognized a need in his community in LaGrange, GA. He was coaching track at the local high school when he recognized that many of the students were missing the encouragement and emotional foundation they needed to become productive adults. As he began to give of his time to these children, family and friends questioned why he did so, especially since it appeared he got nothing in return. “It’s not about me”, was the mantra he maintained, and thus, the early years of HIS altruistic behavior began. He realized that it would have been selfish of him to turn his back on children in need because their behavior would have become destructive, so with track and field as his passion, Kelley devoted his time and expertise to building positive self-esteem in every child he mentored through his coaching.On May 22, 2007, Coach Kelley, as he is still fondly called, even off the track, assembled the people he loved and trusted, including his wife Sequana Kelley, and devised a plan to formally launch a program that would address the needs of children who have potential to “fall through the cracks”, and what better way to express their devotion to the welfare of others than to entitle the organization It’s Not About Me. The glitch in this plan was the lack of funding the group had, as it requires capital to realize a business plan, non-profit or otherwise. Fortunately, the issue of money did not deter the Kelleys from supporting any child they felt need uplifting. In particular, their close cousin Wesley Woodyard was coming into his athletic prowess as a football player at LaGrange High School. Wesley relied on and trusted Derrick’s wisdom and guidance both on and off the field. As a matter of fact, Derrick’s nurturing helped Wes choose the University of Kentucky as the place to pursue his collegiate football dream.Fast-forward to 2009. Kelley’s dream had not dissolved; it had simply morphed through the years into a greater desire to help children realize their full potential. His works and volunteerism grew within his own track club, in his community, and so had the cousin he mentored most during high school, college and into the NFL. It was Wesley Woodyard’s successful transition into the NFL that would give 16Ways the tangible reality that had come into Derrick Kelley’s mind many years prior. Wesley realized that he was the missing link to helping Kelley realize an organization that would not be about him, but would in fact be about the lives of youth in multiple ways. With Cousin Wesley’s financial seed and equal dedication to nurturing young people, Derrick called upon additional expertise in the areas of marketing, finance and spiritual leadership. These gifts were fulfilled through Charles Walker, Joseph Soloman, Jr., and Sam Boyd. Each brought a unique talent to the Board of Directors that was born on September 1, 2010.Mother Teresa once said, “It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” To understand and appreciate the scope of diligence that has gone into creating 16Ways, one must look into the hearts of its board and team to see the love they have for “changing children’s live, one play at a time.”