Brian Lewis, currently a sophomore at Joseph S. Clark High School, is certainly a changed person. He participated in the 2014 NORDC Teen Camp with Models for Success at Dillard University. Although he is the oldest son of three boys, he wasn’t the most desirable leader of the family. Bryan never had an example to show him how he should lead his brothers or an example to show him what he was expected to do. Thus he chose to live a risky life of what he described as a “street kid” that involved some criminal activity and for him was very depressing. He was clearly going down the wrong path when he arrived at the NORDC - MfS Summer Program at Dillard University.
‘I learned so much with Models for Success. I really learned Japanese. One of the teachers taught us about health and I changed my diet. I’m now a pescatarian.’ He laughs, ‘I add some chicken to it though’ because they (referring to pescatarians) only eat fish. Prior to the program he couldn’t explain what a pescatarian was but now he can laugh about how he has switched from a meat filled diet to a healthier lifestyle choosing only to eat fish and chicken. Students were also exposed to basic meditation as a method of calm and focus and now it is a daily ritual in his life. Brian boasts of understanding finances better now and how to invest. He remembers reading the book “Who moved my cheese” over the summer and reflects how we all might want to be happy but we must know that we have to go after happiness in order to get it. “It won’t just come to us.” Now Brian reads more regularly as opposed to his life earlier this year where he never picked up a book.
“The program gave me a new way of thinking” says Brian about MfS. “My high school teachers now believe that I’m going to be a really successful young man and not the same young man who had no direction and understanding of life.” Last year his GPA was 0.53 and now he has a 3.75 GPA. “I have one class with a ‘B’ and I’m just a few points from an ‘A.’ Prior to the program his mom often worried about him and his safety and now she is extremely proud of who he has become and often tells him that. Shocked is the best word to describe the change she saw in her son over the summer.
For Brian, Models for Success was a life changing experience. He firmly believes that the MfS program should be mandatory for all children. He is very grateful for the experience provided through the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission and he not only sees the change in himself, but also that of those who attended the program with him. He says he often keeps in contact with the friends he made over the summer. When asked about his future, Brian plans to own several businesses, not to be wealthy but to be able to provide employment for people within the community.
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