New Albany youth minister helps teens "Redeem the Dream"
NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) -- Some of their dreams have turned into nightmares. That's why a southern Indiana youth pastor is trying to help local teens "redeem the dream."
Dan Marsden has a passion for helping young people who have fallen through the cracks. They meet once a week at the New Albany YMCA and talk about everything from the recent violence in downtown Louisville to the dangers of oversharing on social media.
Donald Corley, 17, is one of those youth. He says he has been in and out of trouble most of his life.
"Not listening to my parents, getting into trouble," he said.
Corley still has a baby face, but his actions have led to some adult problems.
"I'm on probation right now from it and I'm paying a $600 restitution for it."
Corley is grounded and on probation, but also working to make positive changes.
"We have some kids here who have dropped out of high school or have been incarcerated and are trying to turn their life around," said Marsden, president and founder of Redeem the Dream.
Marsden says he's uniquely qualified to help young people like who have fallen through the cracks.
"It happened to me, too. I grew up on welfare with a single mom in Germany. When I was 16, I took a one-way ticket and actually flew into Portland, Ore. and no one picked me up from the airport."
These days, Marsden is focused on helping young people accomplish their dreams but admits it's not always easy.
"It's so hard when we have them just a couple hours a week and then the whole rest of the time they live in the horrible circumstances where their parents don't care a lot of times and they just have bad influences in their lives," Marsden explained.
Marsden's Redeem the Dream meetings started small, but continue to grow and include everything from baptisms to high-profile speakers like Miss Kentucky. There are also some frank conversations about things like the dangers of oversharing on social media.
"We monitor it all the time and it's just terrifying what some of these kids post. You know, they come in here, they act one way and then the next day they got some crazy curse words and just threats and different things that they have on Facebook and we constantly confront them on it," Marsden said.
And he uses the recent youth violence in downtown Louisville to warn the teens about the dangers of hanging with the wrong crowd.
"We talk about it al the time, I personally don't know any kids that were there but some of our kids know some kids that were there."
There are currently several dozen youth in the program but there is room for more.
To find out how to get involved, click here.
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