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Making Choices

DeMountez, a sophomore at Elder High School, shares that he lives on the “worst street” in Price Hill. 

LifePoint SolutionsDeMountez, a sophomore at Elder High School, shares that he lives on the “worst street” in Price Hill. He says attending a Catholic school with a small African-American population has cost him friends.  This doesn’t deter him from the right choices for himself - making honor roll, playing football, being on student council and looking forward to college. He credits much of his success to a mentor.

Demarco, an honor roll student and freshman at Riverview East Academy echoes the sentiment. Without a mentor, he’s certain he would be in trouble and unable to deal with his anger issues stemming from the fact that he doesn’t know his mother or his father. (He lives with his grandparents.)

Both boys have been mentored for more than 10 years through the LifePoint Solutions Positive Future Youth Program. Children are paired with a paid mentor from first through twelfth grades. These are children who live in decaying neighborhoods and often go home to families where family members have experienced early pregnancy, been involved with the criminal justice system, and are abusing drugs and alcohol. Mentors work with the children on social and academic issues and prepare them for life after high school.

In January 2010, the program became a victim of the recession and lost most of its funding. The five full-time mentors were let go and the program struggled to survive. It was a tough adjustment for the kids who lost someone they depended on.

“I felt lost when my mentor left,” said Demarco. “But as time went on I got used to my new mentor. (Cliff Green) Mr. Green helps me with my problems at home and school. He’s always there for me and I know he always will be. I’m thankful for the program; it’s been a life-changing journey.”

Today, just two part-time mentors run the program that is making a huge difference in lives.

“Mr. Green talks to me about making choices,” DeMountez said. “I have a scholarship to Elder and he made me realize it’s my obligation to hold up my end of the bargain for the people paying my scholarship.”

Alexis, a sophomore at Schroder Paideia High School follows her mentor’s advice and shares it with her friends.

“I tell them what Kristy (Barrows) tells me, ‘you can take my advice or not, it’s up to you.’”

“I want to break the cycle and show everyone it doesn’t matter who you are and where you come from you can do well,” adds Demarco.

The Positive Future Youth Program received a Weathering the Economic Storm fund grant in 2010. Funds were used to cover a portion of expenses such as staff salaries and program activities.

Volunteers are needed to help with programming on teen night. Help teens with life skills: how to open a checking account, prepare for a job interview, prepare for the college application process or search for college scholarships. Call 513-354-5619.

March 2011

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