SPECIAL REPORT: Project Reclaim teaches young people the importance of leadership

MINDEN, La. - Ron Anderson is changing young lives.

"It's one of the most rewarding things I've ever done," says Anderson.

He's reclaiming children from paths of destruction, and leading them on the path to success.

Anderson founded the Project Reclaim youth leadership institute eight years ago.

"Our children tend to maintain good grades. They tend to remain in school. They tend to be free from involvement in teen pregnancy and they promote to the next grade level," says Anderson.

"It has made me a better leader. It has made me more responsible. It has held me to a higher standard," says Caleb Gross, who has participated in Project Reclaim for more than three years.

The leadership and life skills program for at-risk youth started in Minden.

"Kids from whatever background should have the same opportunity to learn to be good and positive and effective leaders in their homes, in their schools, in their communities," says Anderson.

His passion for the children grew out of seeing a need in the place where he grew up.

"I know what it is to be thought of or for someone to have the opinion that you're not worth investing in," says Anderson. "So when other people saw fit to invest in me and to let me know my destiny did not have to be what my history had been... that I could do some positive things in my life... I just feel indebted."

The children participate in day long workshops once a month.

Ron and his team also visit the children's schools and visit with their parents.

"My parents kind of have another person they can talk to that knows about us on the same level.. who have the same wants for us," says Gross.

He's making a profound impact.

"I didn't care about myself or what happened to me and Mr. Anderson told me that if no one ever told me they cared about me.... he cared about me and it really made me feel good about myself," says Imuniq Thornton who has participated in Project Reclaim for two years.

These young people, who may have been written off by others, are now writing their own stories of perseverance and triumph.

"We're truly changing some lives here."

Click here to learn more about the program or to donate.

 


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