The Sons of Thunder Coalition is a non profit organization that encourages inner city youth to understand the importance of strong educational performance and the establishment of sound career goals by using committed mentors while simultaneously exposing them to wellness, recreational and educational programming.
Who We Are
We are a youth development program, founded as a direct response to the “Million Man March”, originally occurring on October 16, 1995. Returning to Hartford, many community activists were fueled by the need and desire to do something concrete to help inner-city youths. The issues were clear: children needed positive, constructive activities, especially during the often dangerous and long summer months. They needed positive and accessible role models: people to help them pursue an education, hold down successful professional careers, take care of themselves and their families – people who look like them … and care about them. The Sons of Thunder Coalition serves and benefits inner-city youth, predominantly low income residents of Hartford. Participation is primarily focused on boys due to the severe need for positive role models, and the SONS’ proven ability to provide effective mentoring and programming in a gender specific setting. These youths are “recruited” by way of presentations made by volunteers and board members at local public schools in Greater Hartford.
The Sons of Thunder: What's in the Name?
"Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve designating them apostles - that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James, son of Zebedee and his brother John (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder)…"(Mark 3:13-17) In Hebrew the word Thunder is translated as “qol”, referring to the voice of Jehovah. In addition, Boanerges is the Aramaic name Jesus gave to James and John, which referred to their zealous, fiery disposition. Some say, in the case of James, his passionate personae may have led to his execution. The Sons of Thunder were said to be men of strong commitment, faith and passion, who were unafraid to be mouth pieces for God, even if it cost them their lives. Hence, we have the meaning behind the name of The Sons of Thunder Coalition. The Sons of Thunder Coalition was developed in 1995 by Michael Copeland. It was created as a tangible, ecumenical, Christian response to the “Million Man March”. Through the work of the Coalition, the lives of urban adults and youth are enhanced through mentoring programs, career and educational exploration and urban basketball leagues. Since its inception, The Coalition has served over 1,000 mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers throughout Connecticut.
2019 Board of Directors
Kevin Budds: Broker, RBC Wealth Management; Randy LaVigne: Business Manager, Bloomfield Animal Hospital; Richard Quinn: Retired Principal, East Hartford Public Schools; Gerald Martin: Retired Principal, Hartford Public Schools; Nichole Murphy: Behavioral Technician, Adelbrook Behavioral Health, Inc.; Charisse Jernigan: Certified Kindergarten Teacher, Noah Webster MicroSociety Magnet School; Peter Harris: Dean of Students, Manchester Community College; Christopher Fulton: Assistant Principal, Capitol Prep Magnet School; Lou Lapenna: Physical Education Teacher, Bulkeley High School; Gertrude Banks: Open Choice Intervention Specialist, Simsbury Public Schools; Gregory Hatten: Digital Technology Director.