Boy Scouts work with "at risk" youth - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Boy Scouts work with "at risk" youth

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- They come from broken homes and many of them are considered "at risk" youth.  But a new program is focused on making sure dozens of JCPS students beat the odds.

The program started last week with students from Wheatley Elementary School.  Nia-Somone Groves' some is one of them.  She knows the odds may be against her young son, and that's why she's excited about her son participating in the new after-school program.  It's being held at The Nova Center in the California neighborhood.

"I want him to really focus on reading more and really being detailed when he writes," says Groves.

Monday through Thursday, about 30 students from Wheatley make the trek from school to the California Community Center.

"They're getting tutoring and homework assistance right after school, they're getting physical education lessons and exercise they can do at home when it's cold and without and equipment," says Clinton Scharff, Boy Scouts of America COO.

Scarff's organization is facilitating the program.  And you could say it is somewhat timely.  Just last week, Kentucky's Education Commissioner Terry Holiday angered a lot of people when he used the word "genocide" to describe JCPS.

"This isn't three extra hours of school; it's three hours of leadership, three hours of skill enhancement, they're learning peer skills, they're learning to build friendships and relationships," says Scarff.

"Every child that we have in our school wants something and my job -- our job -- is to help them identify what that is," says Annie Haigler, Family Resource Center Coordinator at Wheatley Elementary School.

Haigler says in addition to help with homework and exercise, students are being exposed to some things they've never seen or heard before, including musical instruments like the harp. And so far, it seems to be working.

Haigler says, "They enjoyed it; they were anxious to get to my office after school so they could get over here."

At the end of the school year the people in charge of this program will review students' grades, and if they've shown improvement, the program will be implemented in schools across the city.

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