Bivian “Sonny” Lee

Son of a Saint

Bivian “Sonny” Lee III says the trauma of watching his father die of a heart attack at 36 set the stage for turning him from a happy child into an adolescent faced with unexpected challenges. However, Sonny says that he was lucky because his mother provided him with needed mental health and wellness counseling, which allowed him to develop into the well-adjusted, successful man he is today. In fact, Sonny credits his mother’s approach as the model he used for building and evolving Son of a Saint.

Why They Made the Worthy 100:  Sonny is the son of Bivian Lee, Jr., who played cornerback for the New Orleans Saints in the early-to-mid-1970s. But sadly, Sonny would be fatherless for most of his childhood.

That loss is what inspired him to launch his Son of a Saint non-profit in 2011. His aim was help boys whose fathers have been either incarcerated, abandoned, or have died, acquire essential tools that will allow them to succeed in life.

To do this, the non-profit uses various methods: For example, the company says that the “mentor-mentee relationship is the key component of the Son of a Saint program. Boys are paired with a trained, dedicated mentor immediately upon entering the organization.” Boys enrolled in the program can participate in as many as 20 Son of a Saint activities per month, such as etiquette dinners and life-skills seminars, to cooking classes and sporting events. Son of a Saint has graduated more than 35 mentees from its program who are all enrolled in college or gainfully employed in viable career fields. In 2023, Son of a Saint will expand to serve more than 300 youth through direct services and educational support, ranging in age from 10 to 18 and beyond.

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