The Means Report continues its annual giving episodes with a look at SUCCESSTEAM with Tim Behling.
Brad Means: Tim Behling is the founder of SUCCESSTEAM. Tim, thanks for what you do for the kids, and thanks for being here.
Tim Behling: That’s right, thank you for having me.
Brad Means: Absolutely, it’s our pleasure. So, it’s a youth development program.
Tim Behling: That’s right.
Brad Means: How did you get the idea to even start this? Where did you spot a need?
Tim Behling: Well, honestly, I’m a native, so like the CSR is very close to my heart. And it’s really important for me to assist in the development of our youth. Because I remember when I was a young man coming up, understanding the dreams and goals that I had. Understanding the aspirations that I might have, you know, had coming up with things of that nature, and how I would have loved somebody to guide me throughout life, and give me answers to the questions that I desired. So now that I’m in a position to help, definitely wanna do so.
Brad Means: What age group are we talking about?
Tim Behling: Ages 13 to 18.
Brad Means: 13 to 18.
Tim Behling: Correct.
Brad Means: Think back to your childhood, it wasn’t that long ago.
Tim Behling: That’s right.
Brad Means: Where can things go wrong? Where can you lose interest in staying on a good path?
Tim Behling: Well, when you’re looking for answers, you don’t really know what’s right and what’s wrong. So, you know, a child can easily get lost when a answer is presented to them that may not be the right one. They’re just looking for something to follow, looking for some guidance, looking for some direction. So we just gotta make sure that we doing our job as the positive individuals in the world, to make sure that we reach them first.
Brad Means: Do the school’s like SUCCESSTEAM, do they have a good relationship with you all?
Tim Behling: They do. They do actually, very supportive. Just because we have a common target market.
Brad Means: Right.
Tim Behling: We have a common goal of making sure that our youth are educated, or you know, into what they need to be into, instead of, you know, following on the path of negativity. Having a lot of community engagement, a lot of community service, and just making sure on the back end that they’re, you know they’re mind is being stimulated in the right way.
Brad Means: How can a child take advantage of SUCCESSTEAM’s services, if you will, how do they take that first step, or do y’all sometimes spot folks who could benefit from SUCCESSTEAM, and you reach out to them.
Tim Behling: We do. As a leader, I believe that you always gotta be on the prowl. Making sure that you’re a hero in the eyes of those who need you, and not necessarily waiting for someone to come ask for help. But seeing how you could help someone, and then offering the services to them. We got our Big Brother program. We do our Back To School Bookbag Drive every year, college tours, we also give our academic scholarship, Prospering Young Dreamers.
Brad Means: I wanted to break some of that down. What about the Big Brother program, how often might a student or a child meet with their Big Brother, and what do they do when they’re together?
Tim Behling: The event itself is a three day overnight conference. And pretty much what we did this year, is we had a 100 plus young men, ages 13 to 18, come out and join us for, you know what, I’d say, a mentoring expedition. So we had them, we fed them, housed them, and mentored them for the entire three days. That’s just the annual part, from there what we do is we follow up with our young men throughout the year. Making sure they’re staying on track, making sure their grades are where they need to be, and make sure they have that positive role model in their life to kind of follow.
Brad Means: Are these kids that don’t have a dad, or don’t have a dad who’s present?
Tim Behling: Sometimes, the majority of them don’t. A biggest percentage of our young men, they are, you know, in a single parent household. But the cool thing about us is that we’ve reached families that actually do have a father in the household, we’re not trying to replace any parent, we just looking to partner with them, to make sure their child is getting where they wanna go.
Brad Means: That three day, that retreat sounds pretty intense. And then of course, you follow up with the year round activities. Do you start to see a difference in your young people after that three days?
Tim Behling: We do, we do actually. And you actually start seeing a difference in yourself and your mentors as well. It’s just like a light bulb clicks, for ’em. Understanding that not only does somebody care about them, but somebody’s gonna be honest, somebody’s gonna be transparent, and somebody is there for them, that’s obviously been there, been through the things they’ve actually been through or going through right now.
Brad Means: What kind of skills are the mentors trying to teach these children?
Tim Behling: Of course we gotta teach ’em how to tie a tie. We gotta teach ’em professional development, personal development, how to secure employment. Team building, communication. And honestly, just the core competencies of manhood, not necessarily trying to find it for them, but making sure they understand that you shouldn’t be afraid of accepting responsibility of becoming a “real man.”
Brad Means: Are they reluctant to accept all that at first, the kids?
Tim Behling: At first, they have a time in getting to know and trust strangers.
Brad Means: Sure.
Tim Behling: But, I’ve honestly been lucky, I’ve never met a young man that didn’t have the natural desire to grow and succeed. So as soon as we break the ice a little bit, they come around.
Brad Means: Does iron sharpen iron, once all those young men get around each other, do they lift each other up?
Tim Behling: They do, we have a lot of our young men who still stay in contact today. Even though they, all of them aren’t present within CSRA. They came from all parts of, all walks of life, South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. So it’s a thing that where our young men, and they actually have their own group chats, they have their own meetings outside of, you know, the one’s that we require
Brad Means: Sure.
Tim Behling: And then to go out the event as well, is not easy, we have our young men who motivate each other. Making sure they’re where they supposed to be, and making sure their mentor was always right throughout the intense three days.
Brad Means: Where does your mentors come from, how do they approach you, or how do they get involved with SUCCESSTEAM?
Tim Behling: The great thing about CSR is, is that we have a lot of volunteers, a lot of willing men who want to give back, and who want to support young men, as they grow. A lot of knowledge that they wanna pass down to the next generation. So we do, we have our volunteer registration, and then also we do our good job of recruiting as well.
Brad Means: Are these men you have already raised their own kids, or is it any man?
Tim Behling: It’s any man, honestly, as long as you’re above the age of 21, you’re eligible to come out and mentor with SUCCESSTEAM. A lot of our mentors are actually active fathers in the household now, within their own households, so.
Brad Means: Really?
Tim Behling: So, yeah, it’s a big thing, to where, they go home and take care of their kids, and they leave home, and take care of our community kids as well.
Brad Means: Tell me more about the college tours, what’s that look like when a child has an opportunity to visit a campus?
Tim Behling: Yeah, so the biggest thing, the biggest highlight is that we gotta understand that the college tour is actually a privileged. Because a lot of our kids don’t have the opportunity to even think that they may be able to enroll within the university or education institution post high school. So, when you, when you’re able to, you know, get them on a bus, with other kids, that they may know from school, or may not know from school, and then you step foot on that college campus, the dreams just start, they start manifesting. They start understanding how important it is for them to take education serious, and they start understanding what it could be, you know, life for them, within the next four years after they graduate.
Brad Means: Oh so they catch that bug, they like what they see, and they wanna go pursue higher education. What kind of help can you all give them at that point, I mean as far financial aid, or how they go from that bus to being enrolled?
Tim Behling: Most definitely, so the key thing about that, is our academic scholarship. So what happens is, any child, or any participant that enrolls within our college tour program, and attends at least three college tours, they’re eligible to receive their academic scholarship.
Brad Means: Wow.
Tim Behling: And not only do they receive it throughout their freshman year, they receive it each year after that until they graduate.
Brad Means: Have you been with SUCCESSTEAM long enough to see what a child turns into, from the first few days they come to you, to when maybe they’re ready to go off and be on their own, and if so, describe what that’s like, what it feels like to you?
Tim Behling: Most definitely, we have a couple of our young menties, who have, who started with us, 8th grade, 9th grade. And they’ve grown and they’ve manifested throughout the program, and we’ve seen them go from a shy individual who didn’t necessarily wanna partake in conversation, to a confident young man, who understands what he wants to do with his life, and understand how he wants to interact, and who he wants to be around, and how he wants to assume his leadership roles. So that’s a big thing for us. We volunteer, our income is intact, and we make sure that we dive into our menties enough to make sure that we’re seeing it.
Brad Means: It’s gotta feel great when you witness that kind of thing.
Tim Behling: It does, it does. And it warms the heart. Because at first, you question yourself, on whether or not you’re even capable of doing it–
Brad Means: Sure.
Tim Behling: Capable of accomplishing that goal. What makes you special enough, to impact a child. But then, when it starts coming and you start building that relationship, and they start changing and going in the right direction, and evolving into what you know they could be with their potential. It’s sweet.
Brad Means: And what an incredible program, SUCCESSTEAM, is doing great work, and I want you to take a look at ways that you can get in touch with them. There’s the phone number, Tim would be more that happy to have you call and learn more. There’s their website and their email address as well. And what do you need? Do you need more mentors? You need money, right?
Tim Behling: We do, we do all the above, mentors, volunteers, financial support, anything that we can receive. Even products, the way we could help our young menties be ready, you know, to achieve their goals throughout life. Anything is accepted, everything is appreciated.
Brad Means: Well, I think 2020 is gonna be a beautiful year for SUCCESSTEAM. And Time Behling, thanks for all your hard work.
Tim Behling: Yes sir, thank you.
Brad Means: Absolutely, making a difference in the lives of our youth.