Darrell Thompson making a difference after football.

For the last 30 years Darrell has been involved with youth work. He started as a volunteer, moved to part time, and helped to grow Bolder Options to what it is today. He has seen thousands of young women and men impacted by the organization. The mission statement of Bolder Option is ‘teaching youth to succeed in all of life's races. That is what Bolder Option does through goal setting, education, and physical activity.

Bolder Options is a transformational mentoring program for at-promise, middle school aged youth in Minneapolis/St. Paul and Rochester. “At-promise” because: 75% of Bolder families are low-income, 86% are single-parent families with an average of three children, 70% of youth identify as people of color (primarily Black and Hispanic), and 28% speak a language other than English at home. Social workers and school counselors refer youth that could benefit from early intervention. Once we have identified youth who need support, we match them with volunteer mentors who meet with them every week for a year participating in healthy and fun activities planned by Bolder staff. Each pair sets physical health, academic, and social/emotional health goals. After meeting goals and staying together for at least one year, pairs graduate and are invited to stay involved through our Alumni Program. Because of the quality of the relationships developed, more than 90% of pairs choose to continue the relationship after graduation.


The real impact of Bolder Options comes after youth graduate from the year-long program and mentors continue to help guide them through middle school and high school, and beyond into college and career.

We are proud of the following outcomes:

  • 81% of mentor pairs matched completed their goals and graduated last year
  • 100% of caregivers reported they were more involved in their child’s academics after Bolder Options
  • 72% of youth reported getting better grades than when they started the program.
  • 80% of youth reported planning for post-secondary education

Our mentors often say that when they signed up, they thought of this as a way to give back, but along the way they discover how much they have changed and how much the experience has given to them. One recently graduated mentor said, “I thought mentoring was a one-way street.” Another one said, “I can’t imagine my life without you now.”

Boulder Options is running as fundraiser: Give to the Max Day is Nov. 18th!

To learn more visit www.BolderOptions.org