DALLAS – Some people say, like it or not, we are often judged by our appearance or what we wear. Some teenagers in South Dallas learned that the hard way, as they worked for neighborhood change.
Near Lincoln High School, some students say they’ve seen a lot.
Student Elija Alexander calls it a major obstacle. “All the nonsense that goes on in our community, fighting each other, and killing each other,” he explained.
Lincoln’s campus is near a corner that’s been a hot spot for trouble. Yet, standout students like Alexander and Jalon Miller say being taken seriously can be a challenge.
“When you find people that actually want to see us benefit in life, that’s a real good thing," Miller said.
That is where a group of mentors with Faith Walkers Charities comes in. Organizers of the non-profit have been mentoring Alexander and Miller since January. Last month, the teens complained they did not have professional attire.
Faith Walkers stepped in to surprise the teens with tailored suits.
"They just asked me. 'Can you help us with our appearance?' And they know they are going somewhere. They just want to dress the part," Sven Nickerson of Faith Walkers Charities said.
Miller is enthusiastic about computers and information technology. He also builds apps. Alexander is an athlete committed to working to keep his community safe.
The teens’ mentors did not want the young men’s appearances to be a stumbling block to success, according to DeAnthony Thompson of Faith Walkers Charities.
"Believe it or not, you are judged by your apparel. You are judge by how people see you. So, if you are sagging, or if you look a certain way, people are going to judge you," Sven Nickerson of Faith Walkers Charities said.
A surprise trip to a local suit shop has proven to be quite the confidence booster for Miller and Alexander. Faith Walkers Charities and its supporters made sure the teens had clothing, shoes, and accessories to complete their desired professional looks.
A day of bonding became a lesson in giving back.
"I feel like, in our community right now, it’s so needed,” explained Chris Rogers of Faith Walkers Charities. “It’s so rewarding to feel like you are giving a piece of yourself to somebody else.”
The surprise proved there is value in men encouraging teens to bring out talents, and not being afraid to show them can make a difference.
To learn more about Faith Walkers Charities, visit the group’s website.