This summer, 15-year-old TreVeon Gilyard of Kansas City and six other young men will be spending their days in a different way than most students who are off from school. Instead of zoning out to video games, jumping into pools, or getting into trouble, these teens will be helping at the Veterans Community Project.
They’re part of the Urban Ranger Corps, an organization that encourages at-risk inner-city youths to develop habits that will help them succeed in the future, in school and in their community.
Help Team Leader Travis Paige told Kansas City’s KSHB, “Our job is trying to keep them on the right path.”
Many of the members of Urban Ranger Corps have experienced poverty and violence; the program serves as a positive outlet that has encouraged members to graduate from high school and provides individualized planning for life after high school, be it college or entering the workforce in their chosen field.
“They teach us how to be men, how to handle certain conflicts, just how to handle certain things in our lives that we’ll be going through every day,” TreVeon said.
The teens visit job sites, go on college tours, and volunteer together. “This is our family. We’re all brothers here,” TreVeon said of his peers.
This summer, they’re painting plant boxes and putting together food packages for homeless veterans.
Another Urban Ranger Corps student, Davion Harvey, said veterans “give us like their lives basically … so it’s important that we try to do something, and even as little as this, for them.”
“Even if it’s a little thing like painting, I want to make as much of a difference as I possibly can,” TreVeon said. He added, “It makes a difference in a lot of people’s lives, and that’s what I’ve been taught to do, make a difference.”
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