KC mentoring program hope to help young men navigate life

KC mentoring program hope to help young men navigate life
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Stopping gun violence among teens is one of many of the initiatives for a youth mentoring program new to Kansas City. It’s called Becoming A Man, or “BAM” — a Youth Guidance program that helps young men navigate difficult circumstances that threaten their future. Terrell Bell, 15, was eager to be a part of it. “He was excited about being in BAM, had just gotten his bam bracelet a few weeks earlier,” said Garrett Webster, executive director of Youth Guidance Kansas City. But just as Bell was getting involved — he was killed by another teenager.”Just extremely tragic to hear that you talk to your student — right before school lets out at 2 o’clock, and they find him dead at 2:30 p.m.,” Webster said. Webster said Bell’s death shows a need for more positive adult involvement in students’ life.”We can’t prevent all of these tragedies, right? with a simple program but we do try to be present,” said Webster. He said BAM gives young men a safe space to talk to counselors — as well as offer activities and jobs.”We’ve seen an outpouring of students who just want a caring adult they can talk to,” Webster said. Webster says right now the program is only at Hickman Mills School District but hopes it branches to others across the metro to help students before things turn for the worse.”Getting help does not mean you’re weak, it just means that you need help. One day at a time, one youth at a time we can prevent it,” Webster said. Along with BAM, Youth Guidance also has a program for young women called “WOW,” which stands for “Working on Womanhood.”Click here to learn about the programs.

Stopping gun violence among teens is one of many of the initiatives for a youth mentoring program new to Kansas City.

It’s called Becoming A Man, or “BAM” — a Youth Guidance program that helps young men navigate difficult circumstances that threaten their future.

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Terrell Bell, 15, was eager to be a part of it.

“He was excited about being in BAM, had just gotten his bam bracelet a few weeks earlier,” said Garrett Webster, executive director of Youth Guidance Kansas City.

But just as Bell was getting involved — he was killed by another teenager.

“Just extremely tragic to hear that you talk to your student — right before school lets out at 2 o’clock, and they find him dead at 2:30 p.m.,” Webster said.

Webster said Bell’s death shows a need for more positive adult involvement in students’ life.

“We can’t prevent all of these tragedies, right? with a simple program but we do try to be present,” said Webster.

He said BAM gives young men a safe space to talk to counselors — as well as offer activities and jobs.

“We’ve seen an outpouring of students who just want a caring adult they can talk to,” Webster said.

Webster says right now the program is only at Hickman Mills School District but hopes it branches to others across the metro to help students before things turn for the worse.

“Getting help does not mean you’re weak, it just means that you need help. One day at a time, one youth at a time we can prevent it,” Webster said.

Along with BAM, Youth Guidance also has a program for young women called “WOW,” which stands for “Working on Womanhood.”

Click here to learn about the programs.

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