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09/23/14 –

Dear Tom,

Joseph Ayres is doing amazing things here in Fort Wayne. For several years, he has put on an amnesty festival geared towards empowering the black community.  It’s a back to school fair – he gives out school supplies, gets the boys free haircuts & gets kids ready for a new year.

He founded a mentorship program for young men called next man up that offers help to young men.  He rewards them with neckties and teaches them how to be young gentlemen.  He also started sisters with standards for the young ladies.

Joseph mentors them the best he can but he can’t get to everyone – so he has secured male and female mentors to help him help others.

He puts his heart into what he does while dealing with his own health issues.  I got mad at joseph when he told me he had postponed a much needed surgery to ensure his availability for the festival – but i got over it.

Needless to say, joseph got his procedure done and he is back on the road…pounding the pavement, knocking on doors, making those calls and sending those emails and it has paid off – he just got a 501-(c) (3) status!

Since his surgery, Joseph’s weight has been fluctuating and he kind of needs some new clothes.  He already has several boxes of clothes he no longer wears that he will be donating to the local shelters.

REAL FATHERS REAL MEN: Joseph Ayres  was originally published on