Today, Kyle Brothers is a successful entrepreneur embarking on new business ventures while also giving back to his community. At age 11, however, he was just a scared boy who had never known a stable home life.
Kyle’s mother was a chronic alcoholic. He lived with her until he was eight years old – old enough to remember watching his mother beaten by men in her life and being left home alone with his younger sister for long periods. He experienced some stability when his father took him in, along with the guilt that his sister, whose own father was still living with and abusing their mother, was left behind. He returned to his mother’s home at age 10 after his father’s death, but within the year his mother died too. That’s when Kyle was placed in foster care at Episcopal Community Services (ECS).
“Up until my mother’s death, I endured the abuse, the arguing, the cursing, the drinking,” Kyle said. “How did I overcome it? When my mother passed away, we moved in with our foster family and that was a totally different atmosphere. I didn’t know it then, but that was my first glimpse of what family meant. The Floyd family as a whole has truly made my life complete from childhood up until this very moment. I love them all so much.”
The Floyd family set an example for both domestic and professional life. Kyle’s foster brother owns a construction company and served as an inspiration as well as a mentor in Kyle’s own ventures. Kyle was working in the banking industry processing checks when he realized it was time to take control of his future. With the switch to electronic check processing, he knew layoffs were on the way. After talking to a friend who owned a cleaning business, Kyle got the idea to start his own. After spending weeks of evenings in the library reading everything he could find about the janitorial industry and managing a business, he started KB Janitorial Services in 2007 while still holding his day job. He took on residential clients at first and then began landing some commercial clients. By reinvesting earnings into the hiring of staff and salespeople, Kyle was able to grow his business enough to leave banking and begin exploring future ventures. Right now he is in the process of opening a restaurant.
Despite the demands of his business ventures, Kyle still finds time to give back. He spent eight months developing a model for a mentoring program he calls Youth Talk Sessions and has chosen to launch his efforts at ECS as part of expanded youth workshop programming.
“I was trying to figure out how I could incorporate this into churches, recreation centers, and that’s how I thought of ECS. I want to start it at the same place I started at 11 years old.” Kyle said. “I know what children respond to – they’re not always going to respond to an adult telling them to do this or do that. You have to come at them from a standpoint that you understand them. There are certain aspects I can relate to and others that I can’t, but I’ll give my all to show youth that there are positive roads to take.” For Kyle, the business ventures for which he works so hard are just a means to an end. His ultimate goal is to be able to have time and resources to devote to helping children in Philadelphia full time.
“It’s important to me because my foster mother helped me. ECS helped me,” Kyle said. “At the end of the day, I didn’t get here by myself. If at 11 years old, I was left out in the cold with some of the people that were around my biological mother, I might not be at this point. Everybody has to help everybody. That’s the only way we’re going to get moving as a society.”