What We Do
Son of a Saint exists to transform the lives of fatherless boys through mentorship, emotional support, development of life skills, exposure to constructive experiences and formation of positive, lasting peer-to-peer relationships.
- We save lives.
- Each year, Son of a Saint selects a group of boys ages 10-12 to join the existing kids in our program. The boys must be fatherless due to their father's death or incarceration. Each boy remains an official Son of a Saint mentee until age 18, but the connection remains until age 21 as Son of a Saint continues to advise these young men into young adulthood. Our goal is to graduate self-sufficient, independent thinkers who are leaders and give back to their community
- What we provide, above all else, is an example.
- Son of a Saint equips boys with the tools they need to become productive men. We give them hope, vision and opportunity. We provide a secure and consistent environment for them. But the Son of a Saint mentors’ most important role is simply to be a good example.
- We have expectations.
- Boys must maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA, complete eight hours of community service each month and maintain good conduct at home, school and within the Son of a Saint organization.
How We Do It
The boys who enter our program are often boys in crisis, and a crisis is not solved without a sound strategy. Son of a Saint employs a holistic approach, using a network of volunteers and partner agencies that enables us to address every boy’s every need.
- Behavioral Health
- Son of a Saint employs a mental health specialist to provide evaluations and regular ongoing counseling for our boys.
- Recreational Access
- Son of a Saint mentees are exposed to horseback riding, fishing, yoga, music, chess, the arts and more. Every boy participates in at least one of these activities weekly. Mentors also support and encourage our boys in their extracurricular activities by attending games.
- Group + One-on-One Mentorship
- Regular daylong mentorship sessions are designed to aid in our boys’ academic, personal and overall development. We host 20 group mentorship sessions per month, on average, covering topics such as etiquette, time management, decision-making, critical thinking, anger management, moral reasoning, life skills, work ethic, leadership, civic responsibility, teamwork and integrity. Kids and mentors also frequent outings, such as sporting events, educational trips, movies, dining, parades and volunteer activities. Half of our boys are also paired with a dedicated mentor to facilitate an ongoing, one-on-one mentoring relationship.
- College & Career Readiness
- Son of a Saint offers each mentee post-secondary planning support. A coach works 1:1 with boys to help them in identifying interests and goals, forming college and career plans, and connecting them with internship or job-shadowing experiences, along with relevant co-curricular activities to prepare them for life after high school.
- Broadening of Horizons
- When opportunities present themselves, we hit the road…or the skies. Through travel grants, Son of a Saint has taken groups of boys to Washington DC, New Hampshire, Asheville, Houston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, Detroit, Montreal, Costa Rica, Africa, and more.
- Son of a Saint pairs boys in need of educational support with qualified tutors. These volunteer educators are all current New Orleans middle school or high school teachers, familiar with the boys’ coursework.
- Tuition Assistance
- Son of a Saint works to provide middle school and high school scholarships allowing Son of a Saint mentees and others to attend tuition-based schools in the New Orleans area. This is primarily done through Son of a Saint Scholars, which is our Student Tuition Organization selected by the Louisiana Department of Education to help facilitate the state’s Tuition Donation Credit Program. View our Logic Model.
Why We Do It
Because there is a need that cannot be ignored.
Life for boys who lose their fathers is an uphill battle involving challenges related to self-confidence, anger and feelings of abandonment. Left unaddressed, these challenges too often manifest in unhealthy behaviors during the early teenage years through young adulthood.
Son of a Saint is a necessary intervention at a delicate time – a wellspring of positive influence when it’s needed most by the boys who need it most. Young mentees forge relationships with volunteer mentors, counselors and tutors that develop over a long period, providing consistent support, guidance and encouragement.
And while this is a relatively young organization – the first boys who entered the program are still in the program – we look forward to the days when Son of a Saint graduates return as men to volunteer, to mentor or simply to exemplify what life can be.
Bivian Lee, Jr., was an NFL defensive back for the New Orleans Saints from 1971 to 1975. Tragically, in 1984 Bivian died at the young age of 36 after suffering a heart attack. He left behind a wife, a five-year-old daughter, Tamica, and a three-year-old son, Bivian “Sonny” Lee, III.
As an adult, Sonny came to understand the struggles and challenges his mother faced, and he gained a real appreciation for the opportunities he had as a child — opportunities the average boy would not be afforded. From access to psychiatrists who helped him navigate through anger issues associated with the loss of his father, to the ability to participate in sports leagues and enjoy relationships with teammates and coaches, Sonny was convinced that the array of opportunities made him who he is today.
In turn, Sonny, then 29, founded Son of a Saint on January 1, 2011, in honor of his late father and single mother. He aims to “pay it forward” and replicate his own experience for a special group of fatherless young males in the community.
Sonny often speaks to companies and organizations on topics such as mentorship, community service and the importance of education. Send an inquiry to request information on booking Sonny for speaking engagements and other appearances.