Nashville program aims to turn youths from life of violence - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Nashville program aims to turn youths from life of violence

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More than a dozen participants will graduate Thursday from a program designed to help troubled kids become enriched and empowered.

Ron Johnson runs the Reaching Excellence As Leaders (REAL) Program, which accepts troubled kids as an alternative to jail.

The latest group of 13 participants are now ready to graduate.

"All of them are getting brand new suits that we bought for them at K&G. One of the things we find is that this, for many of them, is the first time that they have on a brand new suit," Johnson said.

When school is out, some teens might find themselves with nothing to do but cause trouble.

"They just need more outlets," Johnson said.

Johnson is begging parents and their children to get involved.

"Try to know exactly what they are doing," he said.

And he hopes this won't be another summer where the community loses another teen to violence.

"At least know where they are at and don't allow them to have so much freedom to be able to fend for themselves," Johnson said.

The REAL Program doesn't just accept court-ordered referrals, so if you know a teen who could benefit from its summer programs give them a call. For more information, visit:

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