Program aims to develop teens into men, instead of statistics

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Tony Nichelson is hoping to inspire young men to do better and live better.

"Boys need to see men doing things. Boys need to see men going to work. Boys need to speak with men," said Nichelson

The group of young men at Southwest Prep know the program called Man of the House is a chance for them to get on the right track.

Southwest Prep is an alternative school where students are sent after problems at other schools.

Nichelson brought the program there at the request of District Attorney Amy Weirich and Sheriff Bill Oldham.

"The law enforcement community wants these children to have another opportunity. The teachers here at Southwest Prep and Shelby County Schools want it to happen," said Nichelson.

Calvin Abram, Junior is an aspiring fashion designer and said being mentored by professional men is helping him see the mistakes he made in the past, "They're making me better, changing me from where i come from to think another way."

Pastor Donald Brown runs a non-profit and Randall Carter own an IT company.

At 29 years old, Pastor Brown said he relates to the teens. He tells them about his past mistakes to keep them from making the same ones, "We give them hope that it's not the end. Just because you live in a household where there are some struggles or you may have a hard life that you feel hard."

A major piece of Nichelson's program focuses on civil rights history.

Students are watching Eyes on the Prize and studying African-American history.

"If a group of young men are going to come together, it needs to be around knowledge, information, skill, respect for teachers and others. That's what we're doing at Southwest Prep."

Nichelson and his mentors say it's their job to make sure the teens develop into men, instead of statistics.

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