NEWORLEANS- With so many youth falling victim to violence or being involved themselves, 'Sonny' Lee with the Son of a Saint mentorship program is helping pull kids away from violence and bad decisions.
'We are dealing with kids who have a lot of trauma in their lives, so what we do is do our best to be there for them as they go through certain obstacles.'
Sonny, who lost his father at a young age, says at times fatherless children run to gangs in order to be accepted by a group.
'A lot of the things young men are taught I had challenges with. I can understand why how it is easy for a child to join a group that may not be doing the right thing to try to find some guidance like a brotherhood.'
He mentors kids like Trey Hand, who has a similar story. His father, Norman Hand ,was a talented nose guard for two years on the New Orleans Saints. Sadly, at 37, he died of a massive heart attack and now Trey only has the memories he shared with his dad.
Lee said, 'I think with mentorship it comes with positive messages and consistent messages. If they are not getting that, they are going to turn to bad things.'
And that's where Lee has had his hands full, keeping that positive message going in a time where youth are falling victim to a life of crime at an alarming rate.
Those in the program usually participate in group mentoring, community service, and out of state trips.
Son of a Saint usually mentors the kids in its programs from five to eight years. So far more than 40 kids are enrolled in the program in just three years of existence.