Demarion came to Southwest Key Programs experiencing issues with drugs, school and gang-affiliated friends leading him down the wrong path. His mother was no longer around, and his father was never very present in his life but he had a loving grandmother who raised him. He was at a crossroads—torn between trying to impress his friends and trying to make his grandmother proud. The pressure from all of these issues was weighing heavily on him and he began making poor choices and wasn’t on track to graduate from high school.
After Demarion enrolled in Southwest Key Programs, he began getting positive attention and reinforcement from staff and was provided opportunities, connections and positive outlets. He began participating in a weekly boys’ council (an evidence-based group program model through the One Circle Foundation); recreational activities (like basketball at the YMCA); academic support and tutoring; and assistance getting a job (through application and resume help, interview prep, and referrals to potential positions). With all of these changes, Demarion was chosen to be a part of Mayor Byron Brown’s Summer Youth Intern Program and went on to work at the International Institute of Buffalo for the 2018 summer.
After 5 months working with Southwest Key, he began seeing the effects of the positive changes he made in his life. He left the program on track to graduate and graduated from high school in the spring of 2019. Demarion, and so many young men like him, have found a better path through our programs. He is currently on track to becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and is thinking about going to school to become a Registered Nurse (RN).
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