I was born on January 31, 1983 in St. Louis to a single mom. My father was away, giving his mother, Arnita Pitts, sole responsibility of making sure my siblings and I knew the importance of discipline and education.
With a missing father, my uncle was determined to introduce me to a family legacy of football at the Matthew’s Dickey Boys and Girls Club. This club had a major positive impact on my life. I went on to be inducted into the hall of fame with my football team. We received National Championship rings and also became main characters in a nationally published book entitled “We Can Do More.”
Although football was a major part of my childhood, Arnita Pitts knew she had to push her son for a stable future after high school. She gave me three options: college, Army or get out of her house.
In 2001, I decided to go to Missouri Western State College. During my junior year of college, after a tragic event occurred, I made the decision to leave college and become a full-time father. At 22, I decided to apply for a substitute teaching position at a neighborhood charter school, beginning my career as an educator. I began working at Paideia Academy in 2004 as a full-time teacher. After six years of teaching at Paideia, I served as assistant principal at Most Holy Trinity Catholic and Academy from 2011-2012.
As a result of making the decision to return to school to complete my education, I received a Bachelor of Science in Communication from Lindenwood University and Master of Science in Non-Profit Leadership from Webster University. Currently I am studying at Capella University to earn my ED.S in Educational Administration.
Some of my most proud accomplishments include conducting a project at Paideia Academy where I was responsible for taking students to a music studio to produce a video. The video, “It’s in My Book Bag,” was later adapted for use in television and radio commercials that increased enrollment at the public charter school in St. Louis. I am also responsible for working with students to create the Innovative Concept Academy’s theme song “Do Right Swag,” bringing light to urban educational issues. My current success in a high school songwriting competition, which reaches the entire metropolitan area, has gained sponsor support from United Way of greater Saint Louis, UMB Bank, REcast, and ABC Channel 30.
Finding passion in helping underprivileged children is what has guided my career. Connecting discipline and social enterprise has helped me capture the interest and enthusiasm of my students. I am happy to tie my gifts with teaching to help students succeed and intend to touch more students with my organization called Mentors in Motion.
Mentors In Motion is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing quality mentoring and educational programs to disadvantaged youth throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. Its goal is to infuse social enterprise in areas of Science, Technology, Reading, Entrepreneurship, Arts, and Math using the key phase (STREAM). It has assisted over 10,000 youth throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. Its youth participants are equipped with life skills that assure their avoidance of the criminal justice system and tools that ensure a brighter future full of positive decisions.
Alandon Pitts is the assistant program director at Innovative Concept Academy and fonder of Mentors in Motion.
“Homegrown Black Males” is a partnership between HomeGrown STL at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis and The St. Louis American, edited by Sean Joe, Benjamin E. Youngdahl Professor and associate dean at the Brown School, and Chris King, managing editor of The American, in memory of Michael Brown.