Mentoring program comes full circle with graduation

WYNNE, AR (KAIT)- The Cross County Boys and Girls Club mentoring program has come a full circle. Many teens in the program will graduate Friday after spending nearly ten years in the mentoring program.

Fred Smith is the executive director of the Boys and GirlsClub of Cross County and has been a mentor to some of the youngmen who are preparing for their high school graduation. 

"What I try to do is be some guiding light, some gatekeeperto fill the gaps in their lives," Smith said.

Region 8 sat down with four Wynne seniors who were active in thementoring program targeting young men in the community.

"As a child, we really didn't have much else to do, so theyhad this program and we would come up here and play basketball, volleyball andhe would have up doing some kind of work," said Wynne High School senior Keenan Halk.

"I decided to be a part of the mentoring program just tobetter my life and help others," said senior Joseph Stampley.

"It was a better opportunity for me to show other peoplethat I can be a leader and that I'm somebody," said Wynne senior Tony Jones.

"It kept me out the streets and it's a positive place tocome and I stayed out of trouble," said Devaris Goodman.

All these young men have plans to go to college. 

"We worried would they develop into leaders, would they beforthcoming because they are just so shy and reserved," Smith said.

Halk signed to Mid- South Community College on a basketball scholarship. He said he owes it all to the Boys and Girls Club for allowing him a place to practice every day.

Stampley will be attending Missouri State on a full football athleticscholarship while majoring in athletic training. Jones also signed a full scholarship to play football at MissouriState University.

"I plan on being a mechanic, I'm going to do a one year at Crowley's Ridge Technical Institute," said Goodman.

The seniors said they have leaned some big lessons by being apart of this mentoring program.

"Never give up, keep working at what you're doing and getbetter everyday,"said Stampley.

Jones said he learned how to carry himself as a man while Goodman said this experience taught him the importance of being a kind person to everyone.

"Regardless of circumstances, regardless of obstacles, youhave an obligation to succeed," Smith said. 

All of these young men will graduate Friday from Wynne HighSchool. TheBoys and Girls Club of Cross County also mentors teenage girls in the local community.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All rights reserved.