Program Gives Brighter Future To At-Risk Youth

A few months ago, Celeste McMillan says she was a different person.

"Only thing I cared about was getting A's and B's, being nice to the teachers, and fighting kids when they got on my nerves, I felt like defense mechanism, hit em,'" McMillan said.

After 10 weeks in Project Save-A-Child, McMillian and other troubled youth have a new attitude and a different outlook on life.

"There are no hopeless cases, it doesn't matter what's going on in a child's life, we want them to be saved," Executive Director Stephanie Dukes said.

Dukes says teaching morals while having fun is the secret to breaking the cycle of violence.

"Children sometimes they believe, this is how I am, I can't be different. To let a child find it in themselves that I am loved, I can be loved. I don't have to be a bully, I can get my point across without bullying someone else. I think that is the utmost, I can't explain anything that's more exciting than that," Dukes said.

Leaders believe the program could also create safer streets.

"We're going to see that these children are saved from filling up our prisons," Judge Sharon Sigalas said.

Dukes says that violence comes from a child's craving for love and affection.

In the program she and her husband are positive role models for these boys and girls.

"It helped me, so it can help anyone, because I was a big troublemaker," McMillan said.

Project Save-A-Child has given kids the tools to lead happier, safer lives.

Next week Project Save-A-Child will start working with a new class of children ages 12 and under.

There's still plenty of time to enroll your child. Just call 228-938-6229, or stop by their office at 5202 Telephone Road in Pascagoula, Friday afternoon from 3:30 - 5:30.