Black History Now: David Williams And Why Not Young Lives


“I feel that I am a Servant for the movement of making a difference.” South Carolina elementary school teacher and doctoral candidate David Williams has good reason to feel the way he does. For years, he has worked to bring educational programs to his native Marlboro County, South Carolina. 

He has worked with the Children’s Defense Fund’s Freedom School as a Servant Leader Intern and as an Ella Baker Trainer, and continued that work during the school year. 

David told the Black Information Network that it was canceled summer programs amid the coronavirus pandemic that got him thinking about what he could do to help out. 

“Last summer, my goal was to bring the [Freedom School] literacy camp to my [a]lma [m]ater South Carolina State University. Due to the pandemic, those plans were pushed back to this upcoming summer. I was sitting home one day last summer and thinking to myself, normally during the summer, I would be with the youth everyday helping them become change agents. So I prayed on it and what could I do that could potentially be something to keep them on the right path, something that I could do to help them want to be the change the world needs.” 

So, David started Why Not Young Lives, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making an impact “through Community Service, Mental Health Awareness and Mentorship.” 

When asked what he hopes his impact will be, David said this: “I hope my impact will be that no matter who you are, you have the power to change the world. The motto I stand by is ‘WhyNot,’ I use this in everyday life…. Why Not overcome stereotypes that people think are not possible to overcome… I let the youth know that they ARE the future and that they CAN and WILL achieve their dreams.” 

David believes Why Not Young Lives will “help keep kids off the street, parents at peace knowing their child is making the right decisions and bringing the community together at ONE.” 

And that’s just what he has planned for this year. So far, the organization hosts monthly virtual panels on Facebook to raise awareness about available resources in the community. There’s also a scholarship opportunity for students pursuing a 4-year degree, and he’s planning a youth conference this summer. 

To get started working in your own community, David suggests that you first “trust yourself.” “You know what your community needs, even if you have to start that movement by yourself, know that you are not alone,” he said. “It has to start somewhere, set the foundation for what you know is needed in your communities. Something you think is a small gesture may be something that will change someone’s life for the better. WHY NOT, Why Not be the one to show your community how much you care.” 

For more information on David’s work and Why Not Young Lives, click here

Photos: Courtesy of David Williams