R. Justin Tutt
COMPANY: Kutz 4 Kids
A hero is traditionally admired for courage, outstanding achievements and noble service. Twenty-six-year-old Justin R. Tutt has truly embodied this role as he mentors children, using innovative techniques to help them achieve their goals. Tutt’s “free spirit” has allowed him to effortlessly connect with youth, helping them reach their full potential.
In 2012, Tutt founded Kutz 4 Kidz, Inc., a mentor-centered organization catering to boys and girls, ranging from ages five to eleven years old. This federally recognized, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization has a mission to “shape tomorrow’s hero.” Their core programs include: Hero In Me, Sidekick Mentoring, Day In College and Power in the Pages. These empowerment programs allow children to participate in various activities, meet community heroes and become better team players. Oftentimes, students are disconnected from tapping into their full potential within the traditional education system. K4K provides the bridge to fill the social and educational gaps for students who are at risk of falling behind.
Improved self-esteem, better grades and behavioral development are a few of the many benefits, experienced by K4K participants. Tutt values the strengths of each child within the program and “connects the youth to opportunities.” At an early age, Tutt learned the value of hard work and dedication. Thus, success for him is simply understanding a mission, envisioning it and executing the vision. He teaches these simple success principles to his mentees.
“Knowledge is power” is not only the quote Tutt lives by, but he utilizes this ideal within the structure of his organization. The Kennesaw State University graduate experienced a purpose-defining injury to his Achilles tendon one year before completing his degree program. This unfortunate incident hindered his physical movement, but presented him with an opportunity to meet and mentor the youth. Tutt initially spent quality time with children through sports-related activities, conversations and hair cutting. Though Tutt felt that his crutches “slowed him down,” he became more frequent with his visits to the local children he mentored. Throughout the process, Tutt learned “it was more about the conversation and not the haircuts.”
Tutt quickly became a popular community fixture as more youth—and their parents—requested his involvement. As support, he began recruiting college friends as participation grew. These were the birthing grounds for Kutz for Kidz, Inc.
Tutt has helped children in his program explore opportunities in higher education, personal development and relationship building. He has also partnered with colleges and universities to give participants a glimpse into collegiate lifestyle and opportunity. Tutt’s natural ability to connect individuals with community initiatives aids in K4K fundraising.
Instead of “saving the day”, Justin R. Tutt is a renaissance hero impacting children’s lives with lessons that last a lifetime and catapult them to greater heights. In the next five years, Tutt hopes to expand Kutz 4 Kidz, Inc. into a national platform that spreads the message that making dreams come true and revolutionizing communities is possible.