King Randall, the founder of a program for young boys called ‘The X For Boys,’ is moving mountains. The Albany, GA native, who started his organization at 19, has been known around town for years, attending community meetings as a teenager to discuss issues that negatively affect children, like gang violence, drugs, and crime. Always one to come up with solutions, he started getting together with young boys to offer them new ways to learn. He believes troubled young men want to live better lives; they just need to be given the opportunity.
UncoverDC recently spoke to King Randall to learn more about ‘The X For Boys’ mission:
“To provide a positive alternative to the violence and gang culture that is plaguing our young men by giving them a structured, but nurturing, learning environment that helps support their growth and development during these critical ages, so they develop into respectable, honest, and humble young men.”
2019: How The Mission Began
Crediting his mom, stepdad, reading, and ultimately God for his determined spirit, Randall faced numerous obstacles in early 2019 when attempting to develop community solutions for the troubled young boys he wanted to help. Albany, GA has one of the highest crime and poverty rates in the nation, with white supremacy believed to be one of the most significant obstacles throughout the community. Not everyone at the town meetings was on board with how he wanted to help and mentor the boys, so Randall decided to go about it all on his own, telling UncoverDC of the ideology, “if we do believe it (white supremacy) is the biggest issue, we need to simply stop begging and asking white people for everything and do something for ourselves.”
In the early days, Randall gathered troubled boys from around town and took them on various field trips. He asked their parents to send twenty bucks if possible to cover things like gas and tickets to different museums. He also started putting together auto-repair workshops for the boys, teaching them how to change oil, brakes, work on alternators, starters, and other useful car repair skills.
After auto-repair, Randall moved on to home-improvement-type skills. In the summer of 2019, he held a summer-camp workshop in his home with 20 boys. Randall proudly stated that “every day, parents trusted me enough to drop their kids off from 8-5 at my house.” He taught them how to create and grow food in a community garden, how to change ceiling fans and toilets, you name it. Randall said that his stepfather, a “big handyman country boy,” taught him these skills growing up, and he believes they are ones that “our boys need to know.”
Randall also started reading with the boys in summer-camp and soon realized that the majority of them couldn’t read. Frustrated, he commented, “they’re in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades and can’t read—that is ridiculous. Who is passing them through school?” Randall immediately started a book club and held one-on-one reading sessions with the boys to catch them up. As summer came to a close, Randall continued to take the boys on field trips through the fall and winter. He started a bowling team to expose them to different sports.
2020: New Obstacles Arise With Covid-19
Fast forward to spring 2020 and COVID-19. Suddenly, Randall had to pull the plug on all of the activities his boys counted on because of coronavirus restrictions. Distraught parents, who had come to rely on Randall’s positive influence in their boy’s lives, asked him to please “figure something out.” After a couple of days of thinking, Randall came up with the idea that the boys should live with him. The move would keep them off the streets and allow him to monitor what they’re doing and where they’re going while navigating through the unavoidable restrictions. On a shoestring budget, he bought some bunk beds and a dry erase board and put them in his living room, and made it happen. Reflecting back on that life-changing decision, Randall said at times he barely had enough money to pay his bills, feed his boys, or transport them around, but God always made it happen.
Once the boys were settled, summer camp commenced, and Randall started organizing small field trips. On one of the trips, they worked at an apartment complex with a local contractor and learned how to hang sheetrock and install doorknobs. Randall posted about it on Twitter, and the tweet went viral. Since then, he has been overwhelmed with help and support. According to Randall, “so much happened so fast.” As he continued to post his experiences with the boys, he began receiving national attention. In Oct. 2020, after hearing his story, President Trump invited Randall and the boys to the White House, an offer they did not turn down. Of the invitation, he said, “The boys lost it when I showed them the email. Even their parents were excited! I didn’t ask for this, I didn’t request it either, my boys are ECSTATIC! Greatness can come out of Albany, GA.”
I have 6 young men in my summer camp this year and one of our first lessons was sheetrock and doorknobs. They'd never heard of sheetrock and none of them had ever installed a doorknob.
This is my way of fighting for black men while they're alive. Taking the knee from their necks pic.twitter.com/pEwHH9hzsB
— King Randall, I. (@NewEmergingKing) June 14, 2020
Randall explained that he and the boys “had been saying they would open a boarding school one day.” He said he told the boys from the beginning, “keep putting in work, have faith, and God will make it happen for us.” The goal of the future school has remained constant, “to not just expand the boys’ minds academically but also to develop actual men in the process.”
Besides teaching the boys to work with their hands and grow their minds, Randall helps them find ways to work through uncomfortable traumatic issues, like past emotional and physical abuse, including incest. He also started a YouTube channel that covers topics such as: “Have you ever done drugs? Do you feel safe in the community?”, “What is a role model? Are you a virgin?”, “Why is anger management so important for our young men?” and “Does age determine wisdom?
Randall’s program is so appealing that the mother of one of the boys who has been in his program for a while has been faithfully sending her son on the 3 hour trip from Atlanta to Albany without ever having met King Randall in person. He now has custody of 2 boys who “couldn’t make it at home.”
March 2021: The Life Preparatory School Becomes A Reality
Recently, after a couple of other building options didn’t pan out, Randall decided to call Albany’s school superintendent, Kenneth Dyer, to inquire if the district had any school facilities that weren’t being used. He discovered that three buildings were scheduled to be demolished. He toured one of the empty schools located on an impoverished side of town in an area that would benefit profoundly from a school like his. It almost seemed too good to be true.
According to Randall, the school, minus a little TLC, is in great condition, and to this day, he has no idea why it was scheduled to be torn down. After some negotiations, they made a deal. The Life Preparatory School for Boys is becoming a reality. In fact, on the day of our interview, Randall had just purchased a school bus.
21 years old, just bought a school for young men in my community and I had to make sure to buy a bus with it! 72 passengers!
Again, who's gonna hold us down? We're doing for self! 💪🏿🔥
— King Randall, I. (@NewEmergingKing) March 6, 2021
About The Life Preparatory School for Boys
The school is 36,000 sq. ft. with 25 classrooms, some of which will become dorm rooms. Randall will have a better idea of how many boys he can board once he meets with the fire marshall. The 6th through 12th-grade classrooms will operate with both volunteer instructors and paid educators. Randall will not live there himself, but nighttime instructors will reside with the boys. There will be occasions when he stays overnight at the school, especially when the boys learn survival skills, which he aptly calls “basic warrior training.”
Black history is still being created! I’m 21, I’m buying a school, and I’m opening a boarding school for young men in my community! First of it’s kind where we live!
— King Randall, I. (@NewEmergingKing) March 1, 2021
The Life Preparatory School for Boys will not be government-funded. It will be an accredited private school, avoiding the possibility of the government trying to “tweak the school’s curriculum.” Randall commented that he believes as gender-identity issues make their way into schools, the heterosexual, traditional male is being “thrown under the rug.” He upholds that “our men should be protecting our women and children and protecting our neighborhoods and our communities,” and he teaches his boys how to do that.
Randall stated he is prepared to address the gender issue if the situation comes up. He does not object if a boy comes to his school and wants to be a girl. Nonetheless, he is still going to receive lessons about manhood. Simply put, to attend The Life Preparatory School for Boys, each student must possess the God-given anatomy of a boy. According to Randall:
“No one should let a child decide their gender. This is crazy. Most 3-year-old boys think they’re Batman. Actual meds for children whose brains aren’t even fully developed is insane. That’s a lifetime decision that should be made as an adult.”
Faith will be an integral part of the boarding school. On Sundays, the boys will receive an hour-long service from Randall, which will be crafted with teachings to co-join students of all religions. The boys will also have individual time to worship as they please. Randall emphasized the importance of his boys’ understanding that “at the end of the day, regardless of their religion, they are still brothers.”
My FAVORITE story I’ve put together since I’ve been down south in #albany. @NewEmergingKing is moving mountains down here trying to make boys into men. I’m blessed to be able to capture just some of the goodness he’s been doing as he tries to open up a school for The “X” for Boys pic.twitter.com/FcH8saeoyy
— Samantha Cook (@ToldBySamantha) March 5, 2021
The school will evaluate the students’ academic merits and “basic warrior training skills” at the end of senior year. A paramount concern of Randall’s is “ensuring those students who choose not to go to college have other ways to win and have valuable life skills to thrive.” Before graduation, the young men will be assigned the task of persisting as a team on a survival mission (closely monitored by instructors), using their warrior skills to navigate through a challenging situation and on to the other side, opening the door into manhood.
Randall remarked that learning at The Life Preparatory School for Boys will not begin and end with the boys. He emphasized the importance of having positive support at home. For a child to attend, his parents must participate in mandatory classes at least once a month designed to teach them life skills they may not possess, like how to manage a bank account.
— King Randall, I. (@NewEmergingKing) March 2, 2021
Currently, the mission is focused on fundraising to ensure their endowments and donations are at a level where Randall does not have to charge for the boys to attend school—he wants the school to be free for students. He noted that his online store has orders going out to every state in the U.S. and even internationally. His inspiring story has been on the news in Canada and New Zealand.
Randall, who was wearing a shirt that said #bigboyfaith, which is their motto, closed our interview by reiterating, “so much happened so fast.” Going on 22 years old this year, Randall said he is a different and better man because of the children who now see him as a father and brother, adding:
“The lives we’ve changed, the boys we’ve molded, the families that we’ve fixed, the brotherhood that we’ve created, the lessons taught, etc., all have helped mold me into a much better man today. BIG BOY FAITH!!!!! GOD IS ON OUR SIDE!”