ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Longtime Abilenian, Chris Daughtry, founded his non profit, “From Boys to Gentlemen” six years ago, in efforts to give the young men of Abilene a positive model of the kind of lives they can lead.

“It’s soul-touching,” Daughtry expressed. “To be able to see somebody that’s struggling and to know, it’s like, ‘hey, we can make a difference.”

“Clemmie D,” From Boys to Gentlemen founder, Chris Daughtry’s grandfather

By ways of community cookouts, college trips, and even job opportunities through his landscaping business, Daughtry said he is focused on showing struggling children that they’re worth the investment.

“It offers a place of hope in a world full of hopelessness, because there’s plenty of hopelessness out there,” Daughtry explained of his mission.

It’s that same kind of influence he found in his grandfather, Clemmie D; the man who stepped up in his life when his father couldn’t.

“If I know what it’s like to cry myself to sleep at night, wanting to know where my daddy is, why he don’t love me, why he don’t want me,” Daughtry confessed. “Why would I put another child through that situation?”

Daughtry added that he could sense a trend in the young men of Abilene who were growing up without a strong, paternal role model.

“I really started to see how the absence of a father was creating that void in our community, so it really just made me think of him… And, what better way to repay his [Clemmie D’s] legacy than to pay it forward?”

Even before he founded his organization, Daughtry had been dutifully invested in the lives of young Abilenians who may have never known there was a better way to live. Most recently, Daughtry said he wants to expand that mission by adding paid staff.

Daughtry with boys and Mayor Anthony Williams

“I’m not a fix-all, by any means, I’m just committed,” Daughtry said with humility. “I want other people that are committed, as well. And we can’t do the degree of work that we do on a volunteer basis.”

His fundraising goal for Abilene Gives 2022 will be spent growing his staff and extending the amount of young men he is able to reach.

Click here to learn more about From Boys to Gentlemen and direct your donation.