Youth add their touch to Kid’s Growth

Lo­cal ed­u­ca­tion as­sis­tance or­ga­ni­za­tion sets up shop in Tri-Cities

The Progress-Index - - FRONT PAGE - By Scott P. Yates Mul­ti­me­dia Ed­i­tor

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.

[PHOTOS BY SCOTT P. YATES/PROGRESS-IN­DEX.COM]

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.

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