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November 18, 2022


MAN UP's First-Ever Family Bowling Night


By:  JaTika Hudson


Healing, fun, laughter, and togetherness breathed new life into the mentees and their families through an evening of bowling.


The exhilarating sounds of balls hitting bowling pins was the only soundtrack playing at AMF Sky Lanes Orlando where MAN UP’ hosted their very first family bowling night with over 10 of their families. Sons and daughters laughing and interacting with their parents, guardians, grandparents, and mentors provided the building blocks necessary to lay the foundation for new, healthy familial relationships rooted in togetherness and love.


Creating family memories while also learning how to develop healthy, permanent connections is what these family bonding events are all about. MAN UP’s foundation is built upon the strength of families. Brother and sister duo, Samantha and Christopher Wallace are the co-founders of the organization, and their desire is to help strengthen the families of each mentee that is involved in their program. Using their family values of unconditional love, immeasurable sacrifices and unwavering faith to shape the at-risk youth mentoring program.


During the family bowling night, “Two of the older boys were kind of standoffish and didn't want to participate,” she recalled. “They were sitting at a table with their heads down not really talking to anyone. My husband went up [to them] and started talking with the young men and got them involved and they had a great time together.” Phyllis Palmer recalled how her husband organically opened a door of communication for two mentees who attended with their mother, grandparents and their three younger siblings, “That was just amazing to see them begin to bond with their family and make lasting memories.”


Palmer serves as the organization’s Parent Engagement Coordinator. With more than 30 years of experience in children and family services, Palmer is a licensed clinician and independent contractual outpatient therapist. She has been working with MAN UP for a little over nine months. After witnessing Palmer counsel families in the past, Samantha knew when the opportunity presented itself, she would reach out to her to lead this new area of the mentoring program. Palmer’s approach to building strong families is to open up the lines of communication throughout the household.


Bridging gaps, creating unforgettable moments, and building healthy familial relationships that last a lifetime is paramount to the mission of MAN UP. This nonprofit is changing the narrative and leading the way in opening minds to new and creative avenues to bring families together. Palmer wants parents to know that fun and family time is accessible in a way that isn’t costly or out of reach.


“I just want to give them the opportunity to just see what's possible, to dream. To envision themselves in a position to say one day, “I can be a part of this type of environment, I can have a healthy and whole family.” Palmer encourages.


To learn more about MAN UP Mentoring, Inc. visit or to donate, visit . Follow us on social media @manupmentoring.


MAN UP Mentoring, Inc. is community-based non-profit 501c (3) charity organization primarily serving at-risk youth ages 11 through completion of high school or the equivalent across Metro Orlando, with a focus on delinquency prevention and intervention by providing social, educational, and mentoring services. Established in 2014 by Orlando natives, brother and sister duo Christopher and Samantha Wallace. Currently, it is managed by a full-time staff of volunteers and is overseen by a Board of Directors with more than 150 years of law enforcement and civilian experience, as well as advisors from the Orange County Public School System and social workers.

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