INDIANAPOLIS — The power of a haircut.
“When you’re walking down the street and see yourself in the mirror and other people look at you, you wanna look your best. When you look your best you feel your best," Khyree Jones with IMPD CARES said.
The mentorship program helps inner-city students become productive members of society and realize their full potential.
“Violence is up and coming. Especially for youth. We’ve seen it in the city and we see it in the news. We take those kids and bring them in to a safe environment for them to be able to learn and get educated on different things. Also, to know that the community actually supports them. When they’re spending three or four hours with us having conversations and dialogue and being able to engage with peers, they’re not in the streets and placed in dangerous situations," Jones said.
The teens met with players from the Indiana Pacers and the Indiana Fever on Tuesday, to learn about the pro-athlete lifestyle, their paths to success and challenges they’ve had to face.
They also addressed issues these kids deal with every day like poverty, gun violence and problems in school.
Things 13-year-old Mareo Harris says can be difficult to talk about.
“Sometimes you just want it to be just for me. You don’t feel like maybe you can trust everybody with what’s going on in your mind because it’s your mind," Harris said.
He’s grateful for the opportunity to be a little vulnerable.
“Being able to be open and express your feelings with them. They care," Harris said.
The group originally met back in January, where they set goals to improve attendance, raise grades, have good behavior and participate in community service.
Since then, Jones says he’s noticed an improvement.
“Us as officers, we track it. We go to the schools and talk to the schools about attendance and grades, so we track it and we have seen an increase, which is nice," he said.
O’Nisea Sutton is one of those hard working students.
“I’ve been getting good grades. Going to school. School is great," Sutton said.
The 14-year-old wants to be a cosmetologist when she grows up and says her biggest cheerleader is her mom.
“She motivates me to get up go to school and I actually enjoy going to school," Sutton said.
Thanks to Pacers forward Jalen “Stix” Smith, all the students will get a chance to attend the game on April 5 and will all get a new pair of shoes.