New Program Aims To Help South Side Youth

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UPDATED: Wednesday July 30, 2014 4:10 PM

There is a new opportunity for kids on the south side of Columbus to get set on the right path.

Franklin County Commissioners approved a pilot program Tuesday.  

35 African American boys, ages 10-14, will be chosen to participate. It will concentrate on education and exposing them to work experience. The commissioners, Job and Family Services, Community Development For All People, OSU's Kirwin Institute and Nationwide Children's Hospital are teaming up.

"The young people here really could use a chance and we're going to give them one," said Browsers Welcome owner, Melvin Sattlefield.

Just like the furniture he gives new life to at his refinishing shop, Sattlefield is doing the same thing for kids.

"I actually ended up in the streets like some of these kids and I worked my way out of it, using this particular business," said Sattlefield.

A program for at-risk kids in New York taught him the trade. Now, Sattlefield is taking part in a program here. It's called "More Than My Brother's Keeper".

"Give them the opportunity to define what their future story will be," said Dave Cofer, Community Development For All People's Managing Director.

The kids will take part in an after school program focused on education. On Saturdays, they will work with their hands and interact with customers at either the furniture shop, a bike shop set to open on Parsons called I Resolve Fitness, or Nationwide Children's Hospital.  They'll also take experiential learning trips to the Ohio State University.

"I think people need somebody to help them help themselves a lot of the time," said 16-year-old Juan Crutchfield.

Crutchfield represents another key part. There will be a tiered mentoring system, including teen peers, college students and older adults. Crutchfield is an intern at Community Development. He also sits on a board there and will take college classes this year while in high school.

"It doesn't take being an older type of person to do those kinds of things," Crutchfield said.

He was shown great opportunities and so was Sattlefield. Everyone in this program wants to help other kids find the same path.

The program is set to start mid-September.

If you'd like to be a mentor or would like to recommend a child for the program, contact Charles Noble at the Kirwin Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at c.noble99@gmail.com or 614-247-1966.

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