The Heartland 180 Degree Program is underway for this school term at Northwest Middle School, serving youth from that school along with Wyandotte High, Schlagle High and Washington High.
Maximilian Mendoza is the program coordinator. He says the first day of the program is always fun.
"We're helping them with their academics, character development, conflict resolution and interpersonal skills," said Mendoza.
The target audience is "at-risk students" between the ages of 11 and 17. Twenty-five students are currently enrolled in the referral-based after-school curriculum that meets three hours a day, four days a week.
Donique Coty went through the program last year; she's back as a volunteer. "When I started talking to Mr. Max about my problems. I learned that I should never give up myself and I should push forward. He turned his life around when he was little so I can turn my life around," said Coty.
It's a support system and real life solutions that work for these students. Mendoza is confident that those who are still there on the last day will have a new perspective on their life and their future.
Lisa Benson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.