By Josh Mitchell
Corinth Today News Editor
A former professional football player visited with members of the Boys & Girls Club on Saturday night in Corinth to encourage them to set goals and follow their dreams.
Jamal Lewis, who played for the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns, said it was an “honor” to be invited to Corinth to see the youth.
He shared a table with several children at the Hillandale Golf Course and said it is important for youth to “hold steady to your dreams.”
Lewis attended a banquet that the club hosted to honor youth, staff and board members for their accomplishments. The club recently received a workforce development grant that has brought about big improvements to the club and exposed youth to an array of learning opportunities.
It’s “awesome” that more than 160 youth took part in the workforce program in Corinth and the surrounding area, said Trecee Hughey, unit director of the Corinth Boys & Girls Club.
“That’s the mission of the Boys & Girls Club—to help the children and the community,” Hughey said. “We want to create positive, productive citizens.”
Organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club are vitally important to a community, Lewis said. They give places for children to go and stay on track, he said, adding that the local club provides a “good support system.”
Lewis emphasized how important it is for youth to have a plan for the future to achieve goals. It is great to see the youth who took part in the workforce program doing so well, Lewis said. Positive change starts in the community, and adults have to work as a team, he said.
“It has to be a full family,” Lewis said. “It starts with nurturing the youth and making sure they’re doing the right thing.”
Audya Harris is one of the youth who took part in the workforce program, and she said, “It helped me a lot. I learned about more careers that I can do in the future.”
Wadlon Ragin, a high school senior, also went through the program and did a lot of hands-on training. The program was a “big benefit” and helped prepare him for life after high school, Ragin added.
Ragin, who plans to attend college, said, “We’ve got to have a good next generation.”
Angelique Jumper, who is the unit director of the Booneville Boys & Girls Club, said the workforce program teaches youth about money management and careers by bringing in speakers, taking youth on college tours and visiting workplaces, such as Toyota in Blue Springs.
“The kids love it,” Jumper said.
Mary Dilworth, president of the Corinth Boys & Girls Club Board, said the after-school tutoring component of the program has helped improve grades.
“It has been so encouraging and helped so many people,” Dilworth said. “I just get a joy out of seeing all the smiling faces.”