Mayor's Office

Mr. John Rhymes awarded Key to the City

Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley and the Metropolitan Baptist Church community celebrated May 21 as John Rhymes Day in the city of Flint by awarding Mr. Rhymes with a Key to the City.

“John Rhymes has been a pillar of our community, helping mold and shape the lives of young people in a positive way for more than four decades,” Mayor Neeley said. “When we award a Key to the City, it’s an opportunity to honor some of our city’s true champions for outstanding contributions to our community. We congratulate John Rhymes and his family on this great honor.”

Mr. Rhymes grew up in Hazlehurst, Miss. as the youngest of 12 children, and lost both of his parents in his youth. Enduring hardships inspired him to become a resource to others. John moved to Flint in 1970 and earned a Master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling from Eastern Michigan University. He was a teacher and principal in the Flint Community Schools for 32 years before retiring in 2003. From 2003-2008, he served as director of the Sylvester Broome Training Center.

In 2002, Mr. Rhymes founded the Institute of R.H.Y.M.E.S. which stands for Reaching and Helping Young Minorities Excel and Succeed. He has been a mentor for many years, making a positive impact on Flint’s young people.

“We want to be a catalyst for positive change,” Mr. Rhymes said. “Our goal is to equip the future generations with tools and resources to be productive and effective in life.”

Mr. Rhymes has mentored Flint minority youth for many years, as an educator, as a Big Brother, as director of the Sylvester Broome Training Center, and as director of the Gamma Delta Kudos young men’s group.

Through the Institute of R.H.Y.M.E.S., the Men of Excellence program is available to young men ages 12-19. The program aims to provide minority youth with opportunities and tools for success, and focuses on education and training, self-identity, discipline, pride, leadership, and self-esteem. The program offers mentoring, confidence-building, networking opportunities, brotherhood, performing arts skills and college tours. Over the years, Mr. Rhymes has seen many success stories, watching many of the young men complete the program and go on to college and a fulfilling future.