NEW ORLEANS (press release) – Ochsner Health is pleased to announce it has pledged $1 million to Son of a Saint, the nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring mentorship and transforming the lives of New Orleans’ fatherless boys. The total financial commitment will be extended over the next five years to expand Son of a Saint’s programming activities and accelerate its growth. The commitment includes naming rights to the organization’s new permanent home in Mid-City, the Ochsner Health Son of a Saint Bivian Lee, Jr. Center. The facility is named after the father of Son of a Saint Founder and CEO Bivian “Sonny” Lee III, who also served as the namesake inspiration for the organization. Ochsner’s donation is the largest Son of a Saint has received since its inception in 2011.
“Ochsner has a strong commitment to the diverse communities we serve and building a healthier Louisiana has never been more important than it is now,” said Warner Thomas, president & CEO, Ochsner Health. “Our partnership with Son of a Saint is not only a monetary donation, but also an investment in the health, wellness and future of the young men of New Orleans. It is our hope that even more boys will now have the opportunity to benefit from Son of a Saint’s guidance.”
The partnership is a natural extension of Ochsner’s Healthy You initiative launched in January. The donation to Son of a Saint will fund critical programmatic staff and enhance the organization’s services to promote the whole person—mind, body and spirit—through healthcare educators, social workers and mental health providers, as well as support and provide opportunities for Ochsner’s male staff to mentor boys in the program. To further that commitment, Ochsner Health’s Kevin Green, assistant vice president of hospital medicine, is a newly elected member of the Son of a Saint Board of Directors.
The dedicated financial commitment from Ochsner will be allocated to the acquisition, naming rights, and full-scale renovation of Son of a Saint’s headquarters facility, located at 2803 St. Philip St. in the heart of Mid-City. Along with the partnership, Ochsner will hire case workers and mental health specialists to further enhance Son of a Saint’s team capacity and overall capabilities. Ultimately, the support from Ochsner will allow Son of a Saint to expand its programming and deepen its impact.
“Over the last 10 years, we’ve remained committed to our mission at all times. Our work doesn’t end when our boys wake up, when they get home from school or close their eyes for the night, because it’s truly 24/7 and 365 days a year,” said Bivian “Sonny” Lee III, founder and CEO of Son of a Saint. “Each boy receives individualized, holistic and preventative long-term support in this program. The partnership with Ochsner Health is transformational for us on an organizational scale, in the same way we aim to transform the lives of fatherless boys in our community. We know the stats are not in our boys’ favor, but with close to 100% retention rate and no boys losing their freedom, we have a program that is a solution,” he adds. “The credit goes to our amazing staff, mentors, boys and supporters who have helped to build our program from scratch. Additionally, the trust, vision and leadership of Warner Thomas to double down on our work shows the strengthened commitment to young lives in New Orleans. I can’t wait to see how fruitful this partnership becomes over the future years.”
Son of a Saint has increased its class of mentees from 10 boys in its inaugural year to its current slate of 100 young men. That constitutes a more-than-tenfold increase in just nine years. As Son of a Saint continues the crucial work of mentoring and enhancing the lives of fatherless young men in the New Orleans area, the organization is poised to add more programming, more mentors and strengthen its commitment to the community. Son of a Saint holistically sponsors youths as they enter the program between the ages of 10 and 12, and as they remain enrolled until the age of 18, with their relationships lasting beyond into their young adulthood. Throughout the experience, Son of a Saint provides its young men with mentorship, education, mental health services and travel experiences, as well as internship and service-learning opportunities.
For more information about the organization, including programming, enrichment activities, leadership profiles and opportunities to get involved, visit www.sonofasaint.org or call (504) 561-7508. Son of a Saint also welcomes contributions or other donations, which can be mailed to 2803 Saint Philip St., New Orleans, LA 70119. Follow Son of a Saint on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter via @sonofasaintorg for live updates about the organization and its participants.