WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- There are many at-risk youth in the Port City, and studies show that having a positive role model or mentor can significantly decrease a child's potential to get into negative things. This week, we're showcasing Outside the Walls, a mentorship program out to change the statistics and impact our city's youth for the better. WWAY's Asha Dave shows us how the world can be changed if you just add hope.
The dreams of nine-year-old Da'saun Gibbs are simple, “go to college and have a good graduation.” He wants to be a veterinarian or a lawyer and says his mentor Eric Hill is helping him reach for those dreams.
“His potential is unlimited right now. his potential is great," Hill said. "He's a smart kid, and he's doing well in school."
Hill and Gibbs met through Outside the Walls, a mentorship program that's part of the Wilmington Leadership Foundation. Mentors devote one hour a week for 12 months to be a positive influence for at-risk kids.
Charlon Turner is the spokeswoman for Outside the Walls. "One hour a week can be that hour that keeps a kid from dropping out of school. one hour a week can be that hour that a young teenage girl doesn't get pregnant. that one hour a week helps a young person go on to higher education."
Turner said the program has matched more than 400 pairs in the four years it's been up and running. Turner says, "our children have so much potential and so much to give. they just need someone to spend time with them a pull it out of them."
Eric Hill enjoys mentoring. "You can learn from kids, just the things they say, and the things they do. I would say that, if you have an hour a week, spend time with a kid. it's wonderful and very rewarding."
Hill said he's learned a lot about himself in the process.
Da'saun Gibbs said he's learned a lot too. “Do things for other people and be nice." These are lessons Gibbs says he wants to pass on to others.