Rankins leads Young Men on a Mission

Published 10:00 pm Monday, December 11, 2023

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A face and name well known within the borders of Lowndes County, Nick Rankins, works each day to better the lives of the youth around him not only in his role with Lowndes County Public Schools, but also as the head of the non-profit organization Young Men on a Mission (YMOAM), which he founded in 2017.

According to Rankins, the goal of YMOAM is to assist young men in the Lowndes and Montgomery areas to become the best versions of themselves through guidance and mentorship.

“My mission statement pretty much sums everything up – The Young Men on a Mission 501c3 Mentoring Program is to provide active mentorship to young men regardless of race, ethnicity, sexuality, or background,” Rankins said. “Our strategic goal is to provide guidance that will maximize the likelihood these young men reach their full potential academically and socially.”

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The program employs a focus on four main components which include family, social, education and community service. Just one of the ways Rankins helps to instill these core values is by encouraging the boys in the program to help him take care of the Nixon-Times Community Garden where they grow vegetables to eat, tend to chickens to harvest fresh eggs, and even care for a few goats. 

Rankins said that during his time as a mentor, he has tried quite a few different approaches to ensure his mission is seen to fruition with each child who joins, and two methods have proved tried and true.

“The first is love,” Rankins said. “People would be surprised by the number of kids in this city who are never told that they have someone who loves them.”

Rankins second method for success includes exposing the boys to experiences outside of what may be their everyday normal which in the past has included taking them on trips to places such as Washington, D.C. and Gatlinburg, Tennessee, as well as visiting nearly every church in Montgomery.

Rankins acknowledged that he has had a fair share of trials and tribulations since founding YMOAM, mostly due to a lack of funding, but said that through various fundraisers he and his boys have been able to accomplish every goal they’ve set.

The desire to help his community’s youth was ingrained in Rankins from a young age, and he credits the spark inside him to inflict change to the family members who raised him.

“Growing up being raised by my great grandparents inspired me to love and respect others, which made me want to do more in my community and for youth,” Rankins expressed. “I saw a need for positive role models at a young age and started mentoring at Upward Bound at the age of 19. I’ve been mentoring youth ever since.”

With several years of community service and dedication to youth mentorship, Rankins has no intentions of slowing down any time soon and plans to continue serving and changing lives for many years to come.

“I used to always hear that if you save one person, you did your job right,” Rankins said. “I feel like I can save more than that. I feel like I can save a lot.”