Babatunde Beeks was born and raised on the south side of Chicago, an area that boasted some of the most notorious gangs in the country. He attended De La Salle High School, which at that time was one of the most academically respected schools in the city. He possessed both book smarts and common sense, was provided for and loved by his family, raised to be a leader and a thinker and respected by most. In spite of those factors, he still noticed the need for positive role models and mentorship.
Babatunde eventually matured spiritually and mentally. He noticed that respect towards adults was at an all-time low while violence was at an all-time high. Kids were faced with new struggles and hurdles. There were new gangs and new pressure. Children outside during normal school hours drinking, smoking and oftentimes hanging with adults on the street corner had become the norm.
Babatunde's heart cried out. He yearned to be a part of the solution. Inspired with a mission, a purpose, and a goal, The START Program was birthed. His charge was to give back, to make a change. Respect, love, honor and dignity had to be restored in his community. As a man that's been there, and truly understands what young people are going through, he would pave the way for change. Through mentoring, motivation and guidance, The START Program can change the lives of hundreds of misguided youth who need it the most. This is why we STARTed.