In the backyard of many Syracuse homes, Hasan Stephens ’00 is making a difference through his work as executive director of Good Life Youth Foundation, an organization that he started in 2009.
Stephens, who serves as an adjunct professor of Africana studies and hip-hop at The State University of New York College at Cortland, was featured in “Good Lawns Cultivates Work Ethic and Entrepreneurial Spirit” in the Central New York Community Foundation blog. The article details Stephens’ impact on local youth.
Through the Foundation’s Good Lawns initiative, youth do neighborly tasks such as clear snow or cut grass. In the process, they learn about entrepreneurship and develop a relationship with community members. Started as a one-day volunteer project, Good Lawns made a lasting impression.
“Demand was so high – including requests from Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh and City Councilor Joseph Driscoll – the work stretched through September,” Stephens told the CNYCF. The organization has grown into a year-long business employing young men from 14-18 in mowing lawns, removing leaves and clearing snow. “Good Life works, in part, because its staff grew up in circumstances similar to those of the population they serve,” he says.
For many participating youth, Stephens says that they are first motivated by the paid opportunity. “But they experienced pride in their work and caught the entrepreneurial spirit.'”
Stephens established the Good Life Foundation to help prevent youth recidivism, violence, poverty and incarceration. The Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life for at-risk youth by providing a range of services and programs with the purpose of encouraging successful and productive careers and life strategies.
Stephens is a co-contributor of the book, Rebel Music: Resistance Through Hip-Hop and Punk, a member of the County Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative Steering Committee, the Central New York State Regional Youth Justice Team, the County Racial and Ethnic Disparities Work Group and the School-Arrest Diversion Workgroup for Onondaga County. In addition, Stephens is a leadership consultant for the Central New York Community Foundation, Inc., and New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.
In 2015, Stephens served as the Benjamin Hale keynote speaker. At HWS, he was a member of WEOS-FM and Phi Beta Sigma.
Read the full article here.