Melvin Cole, Chief Executive Officer of PURE Youth Athletic Alliance, is the author of Progressing Under Restraints and Extremes, his personal story of an at-risk youth in a world of circumstances beyond his control and how he beat the odds to become a productive citizen who works to help at-risk youth achieve academic success.
About Progressing Under Restraints and Extremes
Melvin Cole’s story begins where he grew up: in one of South Memphis’ housing project communities surrounded by gangs, murderers, and drug dealers. He was frequently left unsupervised and had no positive male role models influencing his life. As a result, he joined a gang and became a father at the age of 14. He
Melvin graduated from Whitehaven High School and received a football scholarship to Bowling Green State. After graduating high school, he said to his mother, “I will make money by being a pro-football player or a drug dealer.” A college football injury decided his fate. Not able to play football, Melvin found himself alone with no support, guidance, or resources. Melvin turned back to the old neighborhood ways and began selling drugs to support his daughter. He received a gunshot wound during a drug deal, and his football dreams vanished.
Melvin graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Management and served over two years in the Ohio State Prison. While in prison, he swore if he were to be released, he would spend the rest of his life helping others. Melvin wrote a plan to help other struggling young black men while he was incarcerated.
In 2012, Cole formed PURE Youth Athletic Alliance. PURE, a non-profit private school, provides at-risk students the resources they need to achieve academic success. PURE has paved the way for students to attend college and become first-generation college graduates. Melvin Cole uses his life’s story as a testament to how a person can change their life to become a productive citizen.