Jacksonville teacher's initiative helps pay for young men to attend prom, provides mentorship

A Jacksonville group is working to make sure young men are dressed to impress at their proms.

Action News Jax's Courtney Cole shows us who's behind the initiative to help young men in need this prom season.

Getting ready for prom can be expensive, not just for the ladies, but for the young men, too.

"You pay for your suit, your haircut, prom ticket, your shoes , your corsage and boutonniere, and that can range from $100 to $300,” Victor Chrispin, Jr. said.

CHrispin teaches civics and law studies to seventh and eighth-graders at Bridge to Success Academy at West Jacksonville.

He said he knows firsthand just how quickly costs add up, because he attended three proms when he was in high school.

"Seeing my mom, she sacrificed a lot just to make sure I went to all three and then, of course, my mentors and family also helped me,” Chrispin said.

His experience inspired him to create the Boys to Gents Prom Enhancement Experience.

“It just started as an idea and God said ‘Do it!’ So I made a flyer and posted it on (Facebook) and I had people say, ‘Oh, this is awesome! How do I get connected? How can I help out with this?"

The initiative pays for everything a young man will need on the memorable night.

"The first student I sponsored, I paid for him to go--got his suit, his tie and things like that. He went to prom on April 7,” Chrispin said.

Michael Randall is just one of the nearly a dozen boys Chrispin helped go to prom.

He said helping the young men get ready for prom is about more than helping them look good. It's about helping them build a bridge to success.

"I was fortunate to have a couple of bridges in my life to help me get over to the next point. So, even with this prom experience, it’s another tool of being a bridge."

He also said he thinks it's creating bonds through mentorship that he hopes last a lifetime.

Chrispin said he wants to continue to help as many young men as he can.

Do you know a  business or organization interested in helping sponsor a young man for prom?
Chrispin encourages you to contact him at (904)-422-9989.