MILWAUKEE — Going out in a tuxedo for a night on the town isn’t an experience all young men in Milwaukee can say they’ve had.
For five years, Andre Lee Ellis has made it one of his missions for as many young boys in his neighborhood and beyond.
Maleak Taylor knows this feeling all too well.
“It’s special to be inside a tux or a suit, like it’s special,” Taylor said. “It will make you feel good about yourself. That’s a lot of motivation that goes with it.”
Taylor was 11 when he noticed Mr. Ellis and his wife leaving for a date downtown.
“I’ve never seen anyone dress up just to go out to dinner,” he said. “So that kind of stuff was mind-boggling to me. But growing up, I understood food, definitely.”
His curiosity inspired the 500 Black Tuxedos event, born in a garden where Mr. Ellis worked tirelessly to encourage and inspire young boys to be men despite their circumstances.
With less than three months to go, Mr. Ellis needs 100 men to volunteer and sponsor a young boy.
“It cost the man $100, it cost the boy nothing,” Ellis said.
Meanwhile, Taylor is gearing up to be this year’s keynote speaker. He has these tips for any man considering sponsoring another young man:
“Don’t be on the fence, just do it,” he said. “You can never receive anything bad for doing something good.”
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