Meet Joel. Joel is my amazing business mentor! Joel is someone who inspired me from afar for several years before he became my mentor. I used to work with his big brother Danny and he would always tell me how Joel started a highly successful beer brewing company from an idea that started with community meet ups at his house. Joel and his friends would get together for fellowship and brew beer together to drink. That led to starting a company called Monday Night Brewing. When I heard the story of how he started such a successful business out of nothing, my faith and inspiration grew.
Danny was also a source of encouragement to me and would consistently tell me stories that would spark my creativity and make me believe that it really was possible to defy the odds and nothing is impossible if you just believe. I know that sounds like a corny Disney movie line, but it really is true! As I got to know Joel better, I started to see and experience his heart for the community and investing in the betterment of others. I watched Joel consistently show up and give, not only of his financial and business resources, but of his time as well to help local communities. This is something that I admire about him
Two years ago, my wife and I co-founded a unique private school in an underserved community on the west side of Atlanta. Several of our student’s families were struggling with housing instability and we decided to open a house for students to live in as needed to stay in school. My wife and I lived in the house with the students and as we started to do daily life together, we found that the majority of the kids struggled with health problems due to a lack of healthy food resources. The life expectancy in our community was on average 15 years less than other surrounding communities due to mainly sickness and disease.
I was also on a personal health journey at this time and discovered a nutrition packed super plant called sea moss. Sea moss has the majority of vitamins and minerals our bodies need to thrive and be healthy. I started to think about how we could make it enjoyable for the kids to drink so that they could start receiving maximum nutrition. The kids and I started to experiment with unique smoothie like recipes and It’s Good was born.
The kids loved the drinks and it started to positively affect their bodies and brain function due to the nutritional benefits. Before we started making the drinks, the kids would come home from school and want hot Cheetos or ramen noodles for a snack but after we started making the drinks, they would come home and beg for the sea moss drinks instead. The kids and I decided we wanted to start sharing the drinks with other community members and everyone loved them!
One day, when the kids and I went to drop off drinks to Danny’s house for him and his family to try them, he said to me “Remember, this is how my brother did it. He started with the community and built it from there”. We continued to take drinks to community member’s houses, businesses, and even the neighborhood association meetings and we consistently sold out of every batch we made! The kids were encouraged and excited to get the chance to exercise their entrepreneurial spirit and positively engage with others in the community.
One day I was talking to Danny and he asked me if I had an investment package because he wanted to invest in the business. He also asked if he could connect me with his brother. I said yes and soon thereafter I was sitting down with Joel having lunch and sharing the vision for It’s Good. As I was talking to him, he inquired about what I still needed to help make the business a success. I remembered the saying, “never ask a big man for small favors” and I told him that what I really needed was a mentor. Not only did Joel say yes, but he also expressed the desire to equip me with the resources and environment to help the vision become a reality.
After sharing the franchise model we came up with to help urban youth become business owners and train them in leadership skills, he realized It’s Good could solve several problems. We could provide healthy beverages to underserved communities as well as to the general public and provide entrepreneurship opportunities to urban youth. He was all in and encouraged me by sharing that he started bottling small batches in his house and now they bottle over 7,000 bottles of beer a day at their facilities. He then told me to dream big and I did!
Fast-forward to today and Joel has been a consistent mentor and guiding light to this vision. He has given more than just resources; he has given of himself to this work and the community. We meet weekly and I am always challenged and encouraged when I leave. Joel and Danny have been beacons of light to me. I am beyond grateful and humble by how things have worked in favor of this vision. I once lived in an underserved and poverty ridden community as a child and understand the negative influences and choices that are easily enticing to the youth. It is important to open doors of opportunity for these youth to show them that there is a better way and that they too can build something successful out of nothing.
Our heart is to help build stronger and healthier communities by investing in the future leaders. We are establishing a system and model that can be duplicated and used to help the youth channel their energy into something positive that can help transform their communities for the better. Our goal is to provide opportunities and streams of income for the youth. When you partner with us and support the vision, you help fill up a reservoir of faith and inspiration that will not run dry and provide the opportunities needed for the youth to never thirst again.