By Vivian Shipe
KNOXVILLE, TN — Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” Malcom X said, “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.” The need to educate was important to these great leaders over 50 years ago…. it’s still important to these leaders featured this week who have spent decades successfully molding the minds, teaching skills, and preparing today’s youth for tomorrow’s challenges. Today we recognize Stan Johnson with SEEED and Thurmon Kinebrew with Locked Down on the Outside. Men of Valor, hands on, patient, long-suffering and respected.
SEEED, which stands for Socially Equal Energy Efficient Development, began over 13 years ago with a mission to create pathways out of poverty. The organization under the direction of CEO Stan Johnson used community canvassing in the beginning when four Black men started going door to door to listen to the people. This community canvassing model continues to this day as the leadership continually looks for ways to teach inner city residents through their programs of hands on training, career readiness, sustainable lifestyles, healthy eating, and gardening skills through their edible gardens. The latest project, construction of an energy-efficient solar home has also provided their students with much need green construction training and job skills. The house , which is near completion is the first of many that SEEED plans to build and sell to a low-income family as they also teach home ownership and grow black wealth.
For 20 years Thurmon Kinebrew , a quiet and humble man has been intentionally working to make a difference in the lives of at-risk youth. Co- founder of LOCKED DOWN ON THE OUTSIDE, Kinebrew works to keep kids out of prison instead of working to rehabilitate them after being incarcerated. The program is an all-volunteer ministry working specifically with young people ages 12 to 17. The organization works to change lives and has made a difference in over 1000 lives. The organization has been able to purchase a building to renovate and use for the program which historically holds weekend camps to work with the kids. The organization is a 501C3 and looking to stay debt free; funds their ministry through a yearly banquet. Once built, the building will offer a space for worship and training and will have a rec room, showers, fitness and game room.