Anfernee Norman, 15, feels at home inside a classroom at the West Broad Street YMCA. He's made the choice to stay in school and off the streets.
"People our age should be in the books, not into guns or violence," Anfernee explained.
Anfernee is the president of the Teen Success Y Club. Coordinator Valerie Sams says the program helps students further their education and achieve future goals.
"We want to introduce them to environments and things that maybe they would not be introduced to," she explained. "Give them educational advancement opportunities."
The club tours state university, colleges and technical schools. Sams also brings in professionals to speak to students about their careers.
It may not sound exciting, but Sams says these opportunities will open up doors for these students to achieve their goals.
Some of the students in the program are considered at risk youth. Almost all of them have seen their peers fall into a life of crime.
"You see these older kids around, not in school, and not educated," said Shaina Budgett, 13. "They're young. They should be planning their futures and becoming what they want to be instead of sitting in jail and not educated."
Which is why education is a top priority for students in teen success.
"We want them to be motivated and enthusiastic about what their future can be," said Sams. "We won't be able to put everyone where they need to be, but we're trying. We're doing our part."
For Anfernee, failing is not an option. He hopes more teens get off a path of crime and move in a positive direction.
"Instead of just going out shooting somebody, you should be going out and helping somebody read a book," he said. "Help little kids learn their ABC's and tie their shoes."
The Teen Success Y Club also does community projects each month. They currently meet twice a week and every other Saturday. To learn more about the program, visit http://www.westbroadstreetymca.org/.
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