Youth add their touch to Kid’s Growth
Local education assistance organization sets up shop in Tri-Cities
PETERSBURG — A dozen or so students from Pathways volunteered to make cosmetic improvements to the Petersburg Kid’s Growth LLC, building on Monday.
Petersburg Kid’s Growth, a new education assistance organization established this summer, supports youth academic success by creating long-standing relationships with small groups of older teens. Penny Ferris, organizer of Petersburg Kid’s Growth, wants to make sure her students get the SAT book, go to the test, paid for, breakfast before hand.
“We’re really happy to have them ... because the space is geared towards youth, older youth who are in need of some support to get them launched into college,” Ferris said.
Youth and students, predominately on the construction program at Pathways, buzzed inside and out of the building working to add a spot of color to the building. Outside, Pathways vocational trainer, Larry Fisher, showed his students how to use a paint primer and paint rollers along
the exterior walls. Inside, volunteer mural coordinator, Dan Sheets, guided students to draw and paint a mural on the walls of an activity room.
“I want to encourage and demystify the process of going to college and being the first one in (a) family, perhaps, to do so,” said Ferris. “There’s not very much support, culturally, when you’re the first one going.”
Ferris said Petersburg Kid’s Growth LLC, talked with Marcus Newsome, superintendent of Petersburg City Public Schools, to find that city youth here could use help focusing on the transition to college, especially students whose parents have not already gone to college, also known as first generation college students.
Ferris said studies have shown that if a student studies for the SATs the student receives more financial aid after the first year of college.
Pathways aims to create pathways to education, employment, good health and a revitalized community. The Petersburg-based nonprofit’s YouthBuild program, from which most of these students came, develops youth leadership and career readiness.
Pathways Vocational Trainer Larry Fisher, center, instructs student Jah Scott on using a paint roller outside the Petersburg Kid’s Growth building in Petersburg on Monday.
“I want to encourage and demystify the process of going to college and being the first one in (a) family, perhaps, to do so,” said Penny Ferris, pictured at center. “There’s not very much support, culturally, when you’re the first one going.”
James Bell, from Hopewell, paints a corner of a mural inside a room at Petersburg Kid’s Growth building on Wythe Street in Petersburg on Monday.