Bernard has been an entrepreneur and mentor the majority of his adult life. His passion comes from seeing youth achieve their goals no matter their circumstances. He knew early on, he would need to pave his own path to achieve his goals. He is a go getter and has no fear pursuing the American Dream for himself and his family. As a youth growing up in Hartford, he identified with the inequities and disparities in Hartford’s low-income neighborhoods.
As an adult, the lack of opportunities increased… so he knew in order to achieve, he needed to find his own way to survive and strive in his community and beyond. His goals always included giving back to the youth who still remained in Hartford’s poorest communities, who have the innate abilities to achieve, but lacked the opportunities to challenge themselves.
2001 Hartford Knights Youth Organization (HKYO) was formed and began as an AAU Basketball-Centric Association for high school students. After almost 20 years, the organization has grown into a preeminent mentoring service for at-risk youth. The organization has successfully mentored over 600 youth from elementary school through high school and supported 80 students during their college years. In the next 3-5 years, Mr. Thomas and the Board of Executives sees HKYO services developing into a more health advocacy organization to provide more comprehensive behavioral therapeutic services.