Mentoring program helps at-risk kids

PRICHARD, Ala. (WALA) – A new mentoring program in Prichard is looking to touch the lives of at-risk children.

Saturday afternoon, August 9, numerous children gathered at the Bright Spot off Berkley Road in Prichard to learn valuable, real-life lessons.

Kids from nine to 19 were given insight on the college application process, preventing teenage pregnancy, and the dangers of drugs.

“We’re trying to just open up the minds of our young people and help them to be able to realize their dreams,” said Allen Rice, the founder of the program.

Rice started the program this summer after his father passed away.

The program was named after him, titled the Edmund Allen Rice day of mentoring.

Rice said his father was a master gardener, and the program uses some gardening metaphors to lead at-risk children to making the right choices early in life.

“You plant a seed, destroy the weeds in your life, then you will succeed,” said Rice.

FOX10 spoke with teens who participated in the program Saturday. They said it was an eye-opening experience.

“I enjoyed it a lot, I learned a lot, because I really didn’t know everything. Especially about scholarships. I didn’t know they could look at your Facebook and it could mess up your scholarship,” said Nytorious Cooler, a high-schooler from Prichard. “I really didn’t know that.”

Organizers said they’re hoping to have kids sign up to have long-term mentors, so they will have the necessary tools to continue to help them through their college years.

“We’re having the kids to sign up, those that want to be a part of the mentoring program, and we will mentor these kids from this point on,” explained Rice. “I would like to be able to mentor these kids from today and see that kid graduate from high school. And have the opportunity to go with that kid to a college, have them sign up for college, and then see that kid graduate from college.”

If you’re interested in participating in the program, you can get more information at the Bright Spot, located at 2531 Berkley Avenue in Prichard.

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