We live in a world where, unfortunately, inner-city youth mature too soon. Negative influences surround our children in their everyday lives – in their neighborhood, in their school, and at home. This generation of urban youth is developing a severe attitude of apathy. They live life to the fullest, as if they may not see tomorrow, without understanding what is truly valuable in life.
Working with a group of high school boys to enhance their minds, bodies and souls is a huge challenge, but once you expose them to the importance of being a man, a leader, a father, and most importantly – a man with a purpose, they will rise and take ownership of themselves and their futures. In our PHYSED (Points of Healthy Sustainability, Engagement, and Development) Program, our goal is to inspire these young boys to become great men who can lead others to a more positive lifestyle.
When we started working with these boys, they were at a place in their lives where they didn’t really care about their education or themselves. In working with each of them, we discovered that no one has ever challenged these boys to really evaluate themselves. PHYSED has the power to transform teenagers who are angry and self-destructive and help them learn to value themselves, prioritize their education, and accept the help and encouragement needed to become the kind of person that each was created to be.
During the time spent as a group, our staff helped these young men to identify some of the main issues in their lives that were keeping them from excelling in school and in their personal lives. After discussing those issues, the whole group started to peel back layers. As mentors, the staff really had to teach them about self-awareness and motivation. As time went on, the boys started to make plans and create goals for themselves both in and out of school. While it is an on-going process, they are beginning to make changes in order to take more responsibility for their actions.
Two of the main goals for all the boys in this program were: to bring their grades up and to improve their behavior. By working on discipline and self-motivation, these young men have transformed into better students – first by bringing up their grades, and then by improving their behavior. It was encouraging hearing from the teachers how much EECM’s presence in the schools is appreciated. As mentors and leaders, we are all so proud and excited for these young men as they have shown great leadership and a new self-awareness to make needed changes in their lives.