BOSS For Academic Scholars
By Dianne Anderson
When it comes to sports, the first thing most boys think about is what it will take to become rich and famous as an NBA, NFL or Major League star, but Everette Glenn knows better.
Starting as young as 7th grade, he tries to get them academically ahead of the game by asking a few simple questions about what other goals besides sports would they like to achieve in life.
Their interests often lean cerebral.
“They say I want to be an engineer or an architect or a scientist,” said Glenn, CEO at BOSS (Business of Success Beyond Sports) Programs.
But since sports are always a surefire draw for the boys, Glenn uses his STEM-oriented program BOSS as the hook to capture their attention. First, he wants them to make an honest assessment of their current situation, such as their height, or whether they can realistically expect to land a college scholarship in sports.
“We don’t discourage them, we just point them to what do you have a passion for?” he said. “We don’t say don’t play sports. We say if you don’t have enough evidence that you can make a living playing sports, why would put more time into that than anything else?”
Glenn, a retired lawyer for 43 years, and the first African American attorney in the Office of the City Attorney for the City of Long Beach, believes the evidence is the key.
With so many Black and Brown students holding fast to grand visions of exclusively playing the big leagues, he emphasizes how much time and energy that it takes to pursue those types of careers. He asks the boys to consider investing that same level of preparation toward their future if – for whatever reason – the major leagues don’t pan out.
As one gauge of future success, he likes to point out fun facts about some sports heroes.
LeBron James, for example, was 6’8” and 225 pounds in the 9th grade.
“He was as strong as any man,” Glenn said.“You can want to go to the NBA all day long, but if you’re only 4’2, that’s not going to happen. Sooner or later, you’re going to figure that out. What else are you going to be prepared to do?”
BOSS is also one of several nonprofits selected as part of the Super Bowl LVI Legacy Program Champion organization for their community impact in Southern California. In the recent project, BOSS and CSULB in partnership were selected from among a host of community partners of the Chargers and Rams to develop an NFL Legend Zone within an 11,000 square foot space of the former Frogs Fitness Center.
The Zone will include a huge array of cutting edge gaming and coding equipment, top-of-the-line gaming rigs, consoles, broadcasting equipment, streaming gear to deliver mass media, audio engineering and sound mixing programming. Among other amenities, the state of the art video arcade will be open daily from 3:00-7:00 p.m., and will include a space for athletic training and recovery, and provide a permanent new home for BOSS.
There, he wants to get the boys thinking about all of the associated STEM fields and numerous other career prospects that they can imagine and experience hands-on through high-tech platforms.
He said they focus on teaching them how those things are made.
“We let them play them, and then we talk about how did they code this? It’s getting them interested in STEM the same way we get them interested in academics in general,” he said.
BOSS is also a recent grantee through the Orange County Community Foundation, where he works with three dozen boys who live or attend a school in Orange County. The program thrives mostly by word of mouth through the boys, and members of Second Baptist Church in Santa Ana.
While some of the best paying jobs of the future are in STEM, there is a noticeable absence of boys of color that are making the grade in math and sciences. BOSS is also recognized with a grant from Jrue & Lauren Holiday Social Justice Impact Fund for their work in combating systemic racism and socioeconomic inequality for Black and Brown communities.
For four years, the boys in his program continue to outperform the school district and boys that are not in his program, with many students maintaining over 3.5 GPA and above. But for Black males in general statewide, he said about 75% of high school graduates are not meeting the requirements to apply to college.
“We are intentional because of this disparity in achievement, the lack of significant numbers of black boys pursuing fields in STEM. This is not new, it’s been going on for years – decades,” he said.
To learn more about BOSS, or support the program, see https://www.bossprograms.org/