Dominique Mallory said he may not have grown up in the best environment in Memphis, Tenn., and he may have made mistakes like doing drugs and going to jail for fighting, but he is intent on “beating the odds” of a bleak future — and helping other young men do the same through his Huntsville non-profit, B3ating Th3 Oddz.
The organization celebrates four years of growth this week with inaugural “Homecoming” events beginning Monday, June 11 at the Calvary Hills Teen Center in Huntsville.
“A lot of people did not come from a good background,” said Mallory, 27. “A lot of people had to grow up by themselves, or take on full responsibility at a young age. But we knew there was something on the inside of us that was bigger than how we were raised, or bigger than what our culture was growing up.
“When people said we aren’t going to be successful, or that we weren’t going to be fathers, or we weren’t going to be community leaders, it’s like – NO – there’s nothing that is impossible. So we’re beating the odds, and that’s where we got the name.”
BTO, as it’s called, began in 2014 as a Bible study with Mallory and couple of guys at the Alabama A&M University Health and Wellness Center bowling alley.
Mallory said, through consistency, the group grew and that, at first, it was “a culture shock” to get young men together from all different races and backgrounds and realize they “could actually come together and talk about something other than [ourselves], which is Christ.”
Since then, Mallory said the organization has “touched the lives” of more than 650 young men through its three programs: BTO Life Night – a men’s Bible study that meets 7 p.m. every 2nd and 4th Monday at A&M’s Wellness Center, BTO Fitness – an hour-long workout session with a certified personal trainer every 2nd and 4th Saturday at 10 a.m. at the A&M Wellness Center, and BTO Mentoring – after-school sessions, community projects and outreach programs for boys 6-18 years old.
B3ating Th3 Oddz became a 501(c)3 in October of 2017.
As the organization grew, Mallory formed a team and developed a purpose statement: “Preparing men to live life on mission.” He said much of what BTO does is focused on mindset change.
“First we’ve got to be able to know that we are somebody and that we mean a lot, not only to our families, but we mean a lot to God,” he said. “We are valuable and when we start realizing that, we’ll start having confidence in ourselves and we’ll stop making so many bad decisions and we won’t get caught up with doing the wrong thing, and we’ll stick with doing what’s right.”
Mallory said he was inspired to launch BTO when he got into trouble and his then-employer and mentor gave him a second chance.
“I made a few mistakes and a few bad decisions, and Mr. Daniel Kasambira gave me a chance and an opportunity when he actually had the opportunity to fire me,” Mallory said. “That’s how all this came about — I wanted to create something positive for young males. There is no specific [race being served], I just knew there was a crisis on the inside of me that I was introduced to, and I wanted to expose that light to other young men that helped transform my life.”
Mallory, who received his master’s degree in social work from Alabama A&M, works full-time as a social worker for Decatur Youth Services, helping people find jobs, managing cases, and teaching parenting skills programs, including a fatherhood program at the Morgan County Jail.
He said he speaks, teaches and mentors in BTO using what he has learned through observation, research and his own life experiences.
“I try to first build a relationship with young men who come to the programs and let them know – hey, I’m a human just like you,” Mallory said. “I’ve done that, I’ve made mistakes, and there are still things I’m struggling with and trying to work on, to get better in every area of my life. So I don’t want you to feel like the decision you made or what you’re going through right now, that you got to stay stuck there.”
Mallory, who attends All Nations Worship Assembly in Huntsville, said he is humbled by BTO’s growth and influence and that he “has a heart filled with gratitude” that God is allowing him the “opportunity” to influence other young men.
“The reason I probably have the determination I do to try and do better is because growing up, I was always overlooked, I was always the underdog,” he said. “I always knew I could have a great life and do things, and God had a purpose in me, but I had people laugh at me and talk about me and things like that, and it almost messed me up in a way, where I walked around with a chip on my shoulder, but now it’s like God is showing me, Dominique, if you just trust me with your life, I will make sure you live an effective life, and that’s all I care about — to have the opportunity to introduce men to Christ and to help take care of them with these programs. It’s an amazing opportunity.”
More information about this week’s BTO Homecoming activities:
— Monday, June 11, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.: All Men’s Life Group (Praise worship & Bible study) with guest speakers Adrian Davis & Jeremy Kelsey.
— Tuesday, June 12, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.: Fitness & Nutrition Seminar with Certified Fitness Trainers Brenson Crenshaw & Jon Howell
— Wednesday, June 13, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.: Mental Health Panel
— Thursday, June 14, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.: Financial Education Seminar with guest speaker Christopher Cunningham- Financial Specialist Wells Fargo Corporate Office
— Friday, June 15 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.: Poetry Night
— Saturday, June 16: BTO Day Party
The Life group, Fitness & Nutrition Awareness Seminar, Mental Health Panel, & Financial Education Seminar events are for men only. The poetry night & day party is for everyone.
All events will be held at Calvary Hills Teen Center 2900 Fairbanks St NW Huntsville AL 35810.
Learn more about B3ating Th3 Oddz at their website, and through social media:
Facebook: @B3ating Th3 Oddz
Rachel Blackmon Bryars is managing editor of Yellowhammer News