Made for More holds second annual ‘If Not Us, Then Who? Gala

The program works with about 50 young men in East Gainesville and is looking to expand its impact
Published: Jan. 22, 2023 at 11:29 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - The 2nd annual “If Not Us, Then Who?” Gala is raising money to help the Made for More program’s impact in east Gainesville.

“We’re raising funds for our four initiatives this year, that being we desire to launch an after-school program,” said the program’s founder, Joel Romelus. “We realize that with our kids there’s educational gaps, so with that after-school program, we’ll be able to partner with local organizations, businesses and churches to enrich our youth.”

Other initiatives include hiring a full-time staff to organize and expand their efforts, as well as taking kids on a trip to west Africa.

Currently the program mentors about 50 young men in the East Gainesville area.

“I think just watching young men, who I can see myself in, believe in themselves,” said Romelus. “If we all take a moment and think long and hard, we had someone believe in us when no one did. We had someone who saw something in us when no one saw something in us. So seeing these young men have that lightbulb come on and say ‘man I believe in myself, I believe I am made for more than just what my environment says I can do or says I can be.’”

One member of the program discussed the impact this program has had on him.

“It just helped me with how to become a man, a young man at that, and how to stay away from bad things and bad influences,” said Ezekiel Campbell. “And to know that just because I’m different doesn’t mean I’m an outcast, our differences is what makes us strong.”

The event’s keynote speaker was former Gator quarterback and Heisman winner, Danny Wuerffel.

“Anyone that’s willing to pour into young men and folks that are looking to come out of difficult circumstances,” said Wuerffel, “I’m a big fan of that.”

The program currently does work at Eastside High and Lincoln Middle School, and its founder says they hope to expand their work to Howard Bishop Middle and Williams elementary.

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