The Edified eXamples Cultivating and Empowering Lives Mentor and Resource Center, Incorporated (E.X.C.E.L.), is a non-profit organization which serves as a community outreach program for young men, ages 13 to 21, in the Compton area.

The program gives young men the opportunity to grow, become educated, and achieve at higher rates and strives to help them after they leave the juvenile system and/or foster care. EXCEL helps these at-risk youngsters by providing them with positive role models.

“I have seen over 80 percent of the youth [in the program] improve and totally change their life, when given a second chance. I have worked with youth who have been able to get their high school diplomas, G.E.D’s, obtain and keep employment, attend both two, and four-year universities, and graduate with both two, and four-year degrees. I’ve been able to assist youth in becoming more established and gain a better understanding of themselves and the role they have in society,” said founder Sherman L. Mitchell II.

Mitchell founded the non-profit in 2007, after witnessing the struggles that emancipated foster youth and youth on probation had to endure.

“I decided it was time for a change from the status quo and committed myself to being the catalyst for actively shaping an empowered and prosperity-filled future for the young men in my community,” said Mitchell.

The center provides specific services such as mentoring and guidance, promoting healthy living, job training and job searching assistance, educational mentoring, leadership training, life skills, community service, social development courses, basic computer training, healthy living training, fitness training, assistance in locating transitional housing programs and other emancipation services.

EXCEL’s goal is to provide counseling to these young men, while simultaneously helping them improve. EXCEL’s counselors strive to push the young men to reach their full potential by establishing close relationships with them, and helping them to see themselves in a more positive light.

“In my experience it is a proven fact that, if young men who have made poor choices are given another opportunity, have supportive people in their corner and adults who general show concern and compassion, they succeed. When these young men feel they’ve accomplished something in their lives or acquired specific skills, they will want to do better. This feeling ultimately brings about self satisfaction, and eventually these young men realize that their investment in change pays off,” said Mitchell.