Saving a Generation: Young Men of Valor - - Jackson, MS

Saving a Generation: Young Men of Valor

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Immediately following the 3 On Your Side Investigation: Saving a Generation, many emails, social media posts, regarding the very serious problem of violent crime among teens in Jackson.

One man shared his concern and invited 3 On Your Side to see what he is doing to help save a generation. 

"Ok, you got yourself in a bad situation; you got yourself here, so you got to do your best," said Timothy Lewis. 

Lewis is the founder of a program he hopes will help save a generation, starting with fifteen boys inside a Hinds County classroom. 

"You're focusing on your future," continued Lewis.

The program is called Young Men Of Valor and the Hinds County School system has incorporated it into its Main Street Restart Program -- a second chance, if you will, for middle school students who've had failing grades.

"A lot of these students would end up dropping out of school, because they would age out," explained Main Street Restart principal Kimberly Davenport. "Because in most districts, age 19, that's the end."

Davenport says clubs are part of the plan.

"And this new club we have, called Young Men of Valor, that Mr. Lewis brought in has really helped these young men grow and mature and have self confidence," said Davenport.

Just ask 14-year-old Robert Nelson.

"I was really struggling last year and now I'm doing a whole lot better," Nelson said. "My grades went from F's to B's and C's, A's, so I'm doing much better now."

"It helps people learn self-esteem," said student Kamie Ickard.

2017 saw an extraordinary number of violent crime cases where teen suspects were arrested.

RELATED: More teens involved in violent crimes

Since then, a 15-year-old now faces a murder charge for shooting a 15-year-old girl.

READ MORE: UPDATE: 14-year-old dies after being shot in the head; charges for 15-year-old upgraded to murder

Asked what the heck is going on, Micah Briggs said, "Well, first we're dealing with an emotional disconnect."

Briggs is a behavior specialist who deals with troubled teens on almost a daily basis.

"When you can disconnect your convictions and your conscience from an act, then you can do almost anything," explained Briggs. "It's almost like a carpenter's hands. After working with sledge hammers and things that are so rough for so long, it can grip the hardest thing and it doesn't hurt. Well, you've got young people who have emotionally or physically been through so many traumatic instances, that their convictions get that same callous."

Timothy Lewis said that's one of the reasons why he started Young Men of Valor.

In his club, young men are required to wear suit and tie -- a first for some of them.

He recruits speakers from all walks of life to address young men ages 10 through 18, the most impressionable minds, hopefully preventing a cycle of failure and saving a generation.

"And the reason why I started the program is because I was mentored," Lewis said.

Remember that greenhouse under construction at the 100 Black Men of Jackson Village?

It's near completion, almost ready to help a new generation, through mentors, appreciate of agriculture and healthy eating, while teaching valuable business skills.

As for Young Men of Valor...

"My goal is to see this program fully developed inside every school district in the state of Mississippi in all 82 counties," added Lewis.


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