Additional Media Coverage
–WBIR-TV: Live A Little: Meet Jamal and Ryan
–WATE-TV: 6-Year Friendship That Started at Big Brothers Big Sisters Could be One For Life
–WVLT-TV: Brothers by Heart Share a Common Goal
–KNOXVILLE NEWS-SENTINEL: Senior Kickstarts “Positively Knox” to Spread Upbeat Message
–EAST TENNESSEE ENLIGHTENER: Positively Knox: A “Bigs” and Littles” Business Venture
BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF EAST TENNESSEE MATCH LAUNCHES
“POSITIVELY KNOX” T-SHIRT BRAND
All proceeds benefit Little Brother Jamal’s college fund
KNOXVILLE, TN − (January 22, 2019) — Ryan Willis and his Little Brother Jamal, who were matched in 2012 through Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee, have launched the Positively Knox brand.
The goal of Positively Knox is to spread positivity through t-shirts and apparel. All proceeds will benefit Jamal’s college fund.
Willis, who owns local apparel company Mulekick Brand, and Jamal say their friendship is centered around encouragement and regular reminders to focus on the good in people.
“One day I listened to a talk about ‘PMA,’ or Positive Mental Attitude, and started using the idea in everyday life,” Jamal said. “Ryan and I focus on it too, and we always try to stay positive and happy.”
The pair, who met seven years ago, have worked together on every step of the process.
“The main goal was to give Jamal some practical business experience—from design, to determining how much to sell the product for, to packing and fulfilling the orders,” said Willis. “And it’s turned into a senior project of sorts that will have the added benefit of helping Jamal financially as he enters college.”
Jamal and Ryan have discussed Jamal’s college path since first being matched.
This fall, the Central High School senior will make his college dreams a reality.
“I know I’m going to college, no matter what,” said Jamal, who will enroll in Pellissippi in the fall of 2019. “And, I’m happy to have Ryan beside me every step of the way. He’s not only my Big Brother—he’s my best friend.”
“We’re family now and will always have a connection,” says Willis. “I’m thrilled to work with Jamal on this project, and I can’t wait to see him move into the next phase of his life.”
Positively Knox shirts are available at PositivelyKnox.com—currently, 125 shirts have been sold.
Project partners include Threds and T2 Design.
About Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee
Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee defends potential in children through strong and enduring, professionally supported one‐to‐one relationships that change lives for the better, forever. Children enrolled in the program achieve measurable outcomes, including educational success, avoidance of risky behaviors, higher aspirations, greater confidence, and better relationships. This mission has been the cornerstone of the organization’s 47-year history in the Knoxville area. Learn more at tennesseebig.org.