A wonderful change is happening in local schools here in SWLA. Young African American teens are taking advantage of a life-changing program that's helping them turn negative situations into positive ones. It's called Positive Change Initiative/Impact Agency, aimed at stopping violence and changing negative stereotypes young at-risk African American men face in society. It's an extremely unique program that gives these teens the tools to overcome negative peer pressure and avoid falling into the wrong crowd at school.

Through mentorship and guidance, the young men learn how to use the leadership skills they already possess in a positive manner. Impact Agency Director, Braylon Harris, with the District Attorney's Office explained to KPLC, "We have used a very strong scientific method called the lunchroom method," Harris continued. "We need the guy who if he picks up his plate and moves to another table, five to 10 guys move with him. That is the man who has influence. He may be using it negatively today, but we believe if he's involved with this program we can make that influence he already has into positive influence."

This program has already made HUGE headway in schools right here in Lake Charles. It could not have come at a better time as crime, drug use, and homicides account for 87% of deaths in Black males ages 10-19 in the U.S. Researchers found that 29.12% of black men, vs. 2.1% of white men, die by firearm per 100,000 people annually nationwide. The need to turn this death rate around couldn't be greater, and several businesses, community leaders, and agencies are making an effort to start that change here in our community.

The founders of the Positive Change Initiative/Impact Agency are pictured below:  Karl Bruchhaus, CPSB Superintendent; John DeRosier, District Attorney; Eric Dozier, Experience Coordinator; Ronald Blanchard, Curriculum Coordinator; Braylon Harris, Project Coordinator and Bryan Beam, Parish Administrator.

Founders of the Positive Change Initiative - Impact Agency
Founders of the Positive Change Initiative - Impact Agency

This program is phenomenal and has limitless benefits for at-risk African American men. The recruiting process is officially underway! So come out and learn more about the program, as the entire community is invited to the upcoming Impact Agency Forum. This event is free to the public, and will be conducted entirely by the young men participating in the program. Save the date!

Monday, August 6, 2018, 7 pm at Lake Charles Boston Academy Auditorium, 1509 Enterprise Blvd. Lake Charles.

Local teens participating in this program are excelling in school, socially, mentally, and spiritually. They are so excited, the students got together and made a song about how they are Steppin Up.

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