Bernard has been an entrepreneur and mentor most of his adult life. His passion comes from seeing youth achieve their goals no matter their circumstances. 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. The lack of opportunities increased into his adult life… so he knew to achieve, he needed to find his own way to strive in his community and beyond. His goals always included giving back to the youth who remained in Hartford’s poorest communities; and 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 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.