Kevin Carter dedicated his life to service at an early age, when at six years old he joined the Boy Scouts of America. Now the CEO of a nonprofit organization dedicated to young African-American men, Carter’s 13 years with the Boy Scouts have equipped him with the skills necessary to make an impact on those he serves.
“I was a Boy Scout from the time I was six and service was definitely one of its biggest values. Black boys aren’t getting these essential skills I learned as a boy so I said, we need to do something to keep Black males from being left behind,” Carter said. “Working with these kids, you see a lot that the African-American students are missing out on. A lot of these kids don’t know about the career opportunities outside of the deplorable neighborhoods they live in.”
A Schenley High School graduate, Carter who grew up and resides in Manchester, is close to completing a double major in economics and finance, and public administration at Point Park University. At only 23 years old, Carter has already worked for the mayor’s office and state Rep. Jake Wheatley.
Now in its fifth year, his organization, the Adonai Center for Black Males, operates five program sites serving youth aged 12-24 throughout the greater Pittsburgh area. After starting off with a meager $200 budget, the nonprofit now receives support from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, US Steel, UPMC and Equitable Gas.
“Fifty percent of our Black males drop out of school. If this was the 1950s, Martin Luther King would be rioting, but no one cares,” Carter said. “There are so many issues facing Black males and we can’t solve all of them, but I’ll die trying to solve most of them.”
While the Adonai program’s primary focus is on self-development, education and career exploration, it also has a volunteer component. In mirroring Martin Luther King Jr.’s call to service, each student must complete 25 hours of community service per semester.