Program teaches students to give back to community

Published 2:42 pm Friday, March 2, 2012

Ty McMeans never dreamed he would have fun picking up litter.

But that’s exactly what happened on Tuesday.

McMeans and 28 other Greenville Middle School students spent their P.E. period at the Greenville YMCA picking up litter and helping prepare the football field to be lined off for soccer matches.

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“It’s fun to give back to the community,” McMeans said.

That’s a lesson he’s learned as part of the Teach 1 to Lead 1 program. The 12-week program is designed to teach the students principles and give them the necessary tools to succeed in life, Teach 1 to Lead 1 mentor Margie Kennedy said.

“We try to provide them with positive adult role models that they can develop relationships with and learn from,” Kennedy said. “We also try to teach them the value of community.”

The program began five years ago and uses material from Celebrate Life International, a non-profit organization dedicated to transforming kids into responsible citizens. At the end of the 12 weeks, the students graduate. But the program doesn’t end there.

“The mentors continue to follow the students through their school careers even after the leave the middle school for the high school,” Kennedy said.

McMeans said the program has already had a positive impact in his life.

“I’ve made some new friends,” he said. “I’ve learned to control my anger and I’ve learned what it means to be a part of a community. It’s a good program. It teaches you about life.”

McMeans and his classmates in the Teach 1 to Lead 1 program are set to graduate on Tuesday.

And while the 12 weeks may be nearing an end, Kennedy and the rest of mentors hope the students will continue to apply the lessons they have learned.

“We hope the things they learn during these 12 weeks will be things that they use for a lifetime,” she said.