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        Edmund Lewis, 27

        Founder, executive director, Minority Males for Higher Education; founder, Style Guy'd, Farmington Hills

        Photo by Nathan Skid / Crain's Detroit Business Edmund Lewis, executive director of Minority Males for Higher Education and founder of Style Guy'd in Farmington Hills, is a 2013 Crain's 20 in their 20s honoree.
        • Why he lives in metro Detroit: "My professional reputation began in Detroit as a student, and I want to expand my network and flourish my professional growth here."
        • Claim to fame: Starting his own mentoring organization, Minority Males for Higher Education.
        • Next step: Find a stable funding base and a formal office for his mentoring organization and grow his public speaking and fashion consulting business, the Style Guy'd.

        Growing up fatherless in Thomasville, N.C., Edmund Lewis saw little hope of greatness.

        Everything changed senior year when two men — Gregory Lee, a school mentor, and Brian Barfield, his pastor — stepped in to help ignite a fire in Lewis for higher education. They helped him fill out college paperwork and found him part-time jobs to cover bills.

        That led to him not only earning a degree with honors from North Carolina Central University, but a master's degree in social work from the University of Michigan.

        He championed a mission — to do for other boys what Lee and Barfield had done for him, and Detroit proved the perfect setting.

        What started with a placement as a community engagement liaison in the city through the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation morphed into a full-time job as a community support specialist in the city's Brightmoor neighborhood.

        He helped cultivate $1.1 million in funding to support the needs of the community, and he recruited more than 250 volunteers to build a playground at Rouge Park.

        Lewis has won several honors, including recognition for community service by U.S. Rep. Hansen Clark, D-Detroit, in 2012.

        Last spring he saw an opportunity to take the mentoring program to greater levels with his own organization, Minority Males for Higher Education, now in Don Bosco Hall in Detroit pending a permanent space.

        "To see what we are able to do with a few middle and high schools in Detroit really opened my eyes to realize that I could do the impossible," he said.

        "Anything you set your mind and heart to can happen. I'm an example."

        In May 2012, he left his job with the Brightmoor Alliance and now lives on his savings to build an organization that helps young men in Detroit gain the resources for academic success, from career skills to dressing well.

        He works with 85 to 90 high school and 30 middle school males in classrooms and after-school programs. Early participants have gone on to Morehouse College, Oakland University and Michigan State University, he said.

        Lewis, who earns money from public speaking, also has launched a fashion consulting business, the Famington Hills-based Style Guy'd. Since 2009, he has worked with 15 to 20 steady clients who come back for ongoing direction, he said.