Boys to Kings Mentoring Alliance

Photo Credits: Bud's Photography
Written by Wanda Armstead Smith, KFN Contributor

Finding Purpose
After being away from Kinston, NC for almost two decades, Kenyari Fields returned to his hometown in 2016 to make a difference. He graduated from St. Augustine in Raleigh, NC, but moved to Texas, where he had been living for five years. He had all the trappings of success. “I was really well-to-do. Especially as a little boy from Kinston. I ended up being the Director of Admissions for ITT Technical Institute. I was making really good money there. It wasn’t six figures, but I lived good. I had a really nice condo downtown and a really nice car. But those were all materialistic things”, Fields explained. However, once he started trying to seek purpose, God began to reveal some things about himself. “God was showing me about being so egotistical and so materialistic. I was able to go in the Gucci store and buy $1500 shoes and it didn’t affect me. And when you’re not used to having it, it does give you a boastful spirit. I can’t front, I became even too hot for my own self to handle.” Eventually, his lavish lifestyle began to catch up with him. He was in such a bad place financially, he could not even afford to make it home to Kinston for the holidays and he was devastated! “One Christmas, I think I blew a lot of money that year. I had not really saved and could not afford a ticket to get home for Christmas. Thanksgiving yeah, but Christmas was just, if you’re a Fields, you’re going home for Christmas. And I could not get home!"

Fields was very sad that holiday, but he still had a giving heart. He reflected, “I can sit here and I can gloat in my own misery because I did this to myself. I could have saved money. I said you know what, let me go and be a blessing for Christmas for somebody else and me and my sister decided to go take a little bit of money and make some soup, go buy some socks, deodorant and some little toothpastes and go distribute that to the homeless people in the big city of Dallas. (downtown Dallas). We made 100 sandwiches. We prepared 100 bags. We had 100 pairs of socks and put them in little red Christmas bags and we went downtown and got rid of that stuff in 30 minutes. In that moment alone, God broke me. He broke me down. And when I got back home, after all was said and done, I cleaned up and I started praising God for what I witnessed that day. God dealt with me with one of those spiritual beatings, where he broke me down and he told me my worth without him. And he showed me that without him, I wasn’t even worth a whole penny! Everything that I had was through him, for him and by him. And I should never feel like I was above anybody that he had created because we are all the same to God. We’re all on the same level. So, you’re not better than anybody. Here I am, I can’t even get home. He dealt with me on that and he showed me my worth.”

A Vision from God 
After his experience with the homeless, Fields was ready to do more. He then had a conversation with God that would change his life. “From that moment on, I said God I want you to use me. He said I can’t use you like that because you feel like you’re God. You feel like you’re better than other people. I can’t use you like that. And I said no God, I’m ready. I want to be used! And he said ok now you’ve seen how your works were in this big city of Dallas, imagine how your work will be where you’re from. Where it’s an impoverished land! He dealt with me on that and he said you want to be used? Prove it to me! I said how so? He said, give it all up!” Holding back tears and praising God, Fields went on to explain why he gave it all up. “I wasn’t living the best life, as far as spirituality. I had a lot of things I was doing. Of course, I had money. I wasn’t living the best life, but I had a good heart still. And God said give it up and prove to me that you want to ride with me and that I can use you. The only way I can use you is if you give up everything that you think of value. You move back home and you go do the real work where you belong.”

As Fields fasted and prayed, God continued to deal with him. In an act of obedience, he sold and gave away virtually everything in his home.  He returned to Kinston, broke and homeless, with nothing but a television and a truck full of clothes. By April, he was ready for his new assignment and God soon gave him a vision. “I knew that he could use me just like he used me in Dallas that day. Then I started zoning in on Kinston. I’ve always paid attention through Facebook, but I was really focused on the things that were NOT happening in Kinston. Not the things that WERE happening. And thinking of preventive measures. And he dealt with me on a vision. He gave me a vision one night and he showed me, plain as day. A building, with boys running in, pants sagging, do-rags, playing, fighting, cursing, smoking.  But they were running up these stairs, just like the ones at Grainger High School. They’re running through the building and coming out on the other side and they have on gowns and crowns. They were running in as boys and they were coming out as kings and that’s what the whole vision of Boys to Kings was about. They were running in the building like thugs and out the other side of the building with graduation gowns on and crowns on. So, they were running in one way, and they got transformed and ran out a whole other way.” God began to deal with Fields on the programs he needed to work on to start his own non-profit organization.

Journey Back to Kinston
Fields shares his experience once he returned to Kinston. “When I moved back, I didn’t even move back with a job. I had a job promised, but I only worked there for only a few months. But other than that, I became unemployed. I didn’t have a place to stay so I moved back home with my mom in the projects and I stayed with her for an entire year. I literally moved back into my old room. That’s what God wanted me to do. He wanted to take me back! And he took me back and he broke me down. And then I had to humble myself because here I am back, done lived, traveled, shopped. Done all the things that people that I’m living around may have never had a chance to do. Here I am having to go back and of course the gossip rumors started, so I had a lot to deal with even coming back. But I went back when God said go! Not what man says. He told me there would be scrutiny. He said there will be people who will talk about you, spreading rumors and lies. But as long as you keep your eyes on the prize, you will grow and I will build you. You will have everything and more!”

He eventually lost his car to repossession. However, piece by piece, he’s been getting everything back. He is more appreciative for what he has now. He no longer has the big house or the big cars he was driving. He may have lost everything, but he didn’t lose his faith in God or his mother’s love for him. “So, he took those things away and kind of like purified me, I believe. He wanted me to be whole again and he had to take all of that stuff I that felt value to and that I put before him at one point of my life. He took it all away and brought me back to my worthless self and he restored me. And that’s what God does. He took everything out. He broke me down and re-filled me, all the impurities, all the distractions. All the things that were not of him and made me whole again”, Fields says. After a year, he obtained his own place and God is using others to bless him. He now has a nice apartment in Kinston, where everything he needed was either bought second hand or given by others who believed in him.  He currently works as a school teacher at Northeast Elementary, a position which enables him to further use his gifts to impact the youth in Kinston. Although he has faced many challenges and wanted to run back to his old lifestyle a thousand times, he understands that with any sacrifice comes greater rewards.

Putting Hands to the Work
The goal of the Boys to Kings is to teach the young men step by step, day by day how wonderful that God created them and that any circumstance can change with hard work, perseverance and by putting God first. Now that the vision is clear, Fields is now living his life with purpose and wisdom. Like his late grandmother ─Margaret S. Fields─ who was the pillar of the family, he carries her spirit of sharing, loving and building people up. What started with eleven boys has now grown to thirty boys, who have already registered for 2018. “We kicked off this summer at the Wood Ducks baseball game. Now, I’ve been building the program for about a year when I first moved back. But so many people wanted to be a part of it. But I’m a big believer in 150% and I felt like I needed to give more to it with planning. Just developing the purpose and the mission and building it from the ground level versus trying to fill it up with people and not doing 150%. So, it didn’t kick off until this school year, but I had groomed the kids who got grand-fathered in because I taught them last year.”

Fields says he is so thankful for the support of the community, as he tries to meet the growing demands of his organization.  “I thank God now Kinston Housing Authority has allowed us to use their community facilities at Jack Rountree Apartments. So, now we have a house to have our meetings and mentoring sessions. And it’s easier because most of the kids that I serve who are around that area can walk.” Fields is frequently approached by parents, desperately asking for his help for their young boys. “The more and more I’m out there in the trenches, I understand that these kids want somebody who believe in them. There are some tough cases out here! I met a mom who was crying out that she needed help. She found out that I was a teacher and I told her about the program and she just broke down. People are at wits end about behaviors and how other people talk about their kids, like the school calls. But really kids aren’t bad, they’re just acting out because they want attention. So, they want somebody who listens to them and somebody who consistently loves them. And somebody who they believe is going to be where they say they’re going to be, when they say they’re going to be there. If you can get those kids beyond that and trusting you, there is nothing that I can teach my boys that I don’t think will go over their heads. They are just so eager everyday like sponges to absorb it because I’ve already shown them and built that bond to show them that I’m there with you forever. I’m not giving up on you. I don’t care how bad you do or how much cursing words you try to say, I’m going to be your mentor. But, I’m going to tell you when you’re right and I’m going to get on you when you’re wrong. We’re going to put water under the bridge and you’re going to apologize like a little man and we’re going to go on.”

This year, Fields has several goals for his program participants. His organization just became a Cub Scouts unit, so they are in the process of building their unit. Every boy that is registered is automatically registered with the Boy Scouts of America, where they can earn nine different badges for being honorable, respectful and learning different skills. “Our goal is to get them their shirts. So, that they can become badged in various capacities. Then we want to plan a camping trip. Our first excursion will be our incentive for report cards. We want to take them on a trip to do something fun, but educational at the same time. The last trip we went to Air U and I took them through East Carolina University campus. Then we went to the mall and ate. This time, we want to make sure we do something a little bit more educational-focused and fun. Also, I’m working with my frat brothers (Alpha Phi Alpha) at A&T to try to plan a college trip. So, hopefully we can do that this summer. And our main summer trip goal is to go to the African American Heritage Museum in DC. We’ve got a lot of fundraising and a lot of work to do. Like I told them, all these things are possible through funding and if we don’t find grants, we got to get out here and sell dinners, rake yards, wash cars and get ourselves there.”

How Can You Help?
Currently the organization is trying to get sponsorships for their $50 registration fees for those who cannot afford it. Also, they are trying to purchase the $25 Cub Scouts shirts for all of their participants. Fields explains, “If people want to volunteer, what I’m looking for right now are tutors and some mentors. In March, we’re starting a tutoring lab, which we’ll go into right after our meetings on Saturdays for the kids to be tutored for Math and ELA (English) and any other life skills that they want to learn. Any questions they have about being boys, etc. I really want to open this up to the (Jack Rountree) community as a thank you for allowing us to use the facility. The tutoring lab will be allowed for their residents as well.”

Donations are currently being accepted via the CashApp using the cashtag, $boystokings or you can contact Fields in person. Email inquiries should be sent to boystokingsdirector@gmail.com

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About Boys to Kings Mentoring Alliance, Inc.
The 501(c)3 non-profit was established in June 2016 by Founder & CEO Kenyari Fields as a one-on-one and group mentoring program for at-risk youth from diverse backgrounds.

Purpose─ To increase the opportunity for success of at-risk young men across all demographics. The program is designed to make an impact in the lives of young men and their local community. Providing local service, guidance and support prepares the participants to translate practical goals and habits to the broader global community. Boys to Kings Mentoring Alliance uses existing resources and platforms to affect a profound impact not only in the outlook of our participants but within the community at large. We consider the total individual: mental, emotional, practical and vocational. We provide experiential, academic, athletic and artistic engagement of our participants in an effort to ensure holistic outreach.

Mission─ To empower, encourage and equip every participant with self-reliance, assurance and confidence: the tools they need for personal success and civic accountability.

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