Local man works to save troubled boys through Brothers at Peace
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A local man works to save the young boys society gives up on. Ronald Scott started Brothers at Peace a couple of years ago to turn troubled teens into young men with lives of purpose. Kawan Wilson was angry when he came into the program.
"He pushed me about four or five times until I told him touch me one more time.
Kawan recounted a recent fight he had.
"I whacked him," he said.
Police picked him up a few days after his 12th birthday. He's accused of cutting another kid with a pocket knife.
"The little boy, from my understanding, took out a box cutter," his mother Tasia Taylor said.
"Kuwan ended up getting an actual charge which was second degree assault. I was like, oh my God now my child has a record."
"It was like bleeding down. I went to get my dad," Kawan said.
"I can't raise boys," his mother said crying.
She needed help and reached out to a man she calls Mr. Ronald.
"He said mom, I'm going to tell you this. This is a family, this is a community. When you need me you can come to me also," Taylor said. "That meant the world to me because what I went through with him he doesn't have any male support."
Ronald Scott is a mentor to boys like Kawan.
"The time they're with me they are not on the streets, they're not in trouble, they're not in any danger when they're with me," he said.
He's a motivator who inspires boys to reach their full potential. he meets with them twice a month here at the Rosenwald Center.
"Usually when they first get there they don't know what the program is about. They're stand offish and don't want to be there. I tell the parents to just give me an hour and a half with them and they won't want to leave when it's time to pick them up," he said.
The program is called "Brothers at Peace"
He talks to kids who haven't always listened. Kawan Wilson is the newest member. He had one meeting under his belt before the fight, but years of bottled up anger.
"He was getting suspended left and right at five or six years old. When he got to school he wouldn't do work. He'd bang his head and kick computers," Kawan's mom said.
Scott says the boys' fathers are not in their lives, or are not consistent. He knew he couldn't bail out of the program or quit. He says the dedication of staying resillient for the child is the reason why he never will let the boys down.
"Raising boys is not easy. His dad grew up going to jail in and out of juvenile at his age. He actually served time. My younger son's dad is also incarcerated with life in jail," Taylor said.
For two and a half years, Scott has exposed at risk kids to reasons to turn their lives around, like college field trips to Dillard, Nicholls and LSU.
Ronald says when the kids got to the LSU practice facility they were in awe and got to meet the players.
They rub shoulders with movers and shakers, ride horses, do yoga, and go places.
"That's the joy of the program showing them what I would have liked to have had as a child coming up," he said.
Scott's mother died when he was seven in a car crash, and his father raised him in a Harvey neighborhood that had it's share of trouble.
"No hot water, a lot of warm nights. We only had one air conditioner for one room in the house. It was just me and my father."
Scott was a rebellious kid, cutting school, signing my own detention reports hanging with the wrong crowd and dabbling in drugs. Even with a track scholarship to Nicholls, he hung out with the wrong crowd on the weekends. He was arrested once at a football game during college. It was a turning point that changed his path. He tells the story to the kids when they meet together.
Kids like Donovan Thomas, who joined Brothers at Peace a year ago.
"I didn't feel like doing nothing. I hated everbody and everything from what happened with my mom and dad," he said.
His mom Alicia Thomas called his life a rollercoaster of suspensions, detentions, phone calls from teachers and failing grades. His parents divorced and the brother he looked up to as a mentor was arrested and jailed while off at college in Minnesota.
"He had no more positive role models in his eyes," Alicia Thomas said. "Everybody is leaving him or messing up what his world was about.
"When I talked to the young man, he was pulling away from his mom and he didn't want to be there," Scott said. " I said, look man, trust me."
Donovan said he didn't want to go to the meetings at first.
"She lied to me and brought me there. I really appreciate she lied to me. It was a great honor," he said with a tears in his eyes.
Scott says once he loosened up, he pulled him to the side.
"Now he's open and he's having fun. Now, what is it that you want to do. What do you want to do and how can I help you get there?" Scott said.
Scott promotes events to help keep his program going, like Teen Summit, concerts, comedy shows and speakers. Admission goes toward the program, much of it comes out of his own pocket.
"It's a sacrafice. Anything worth sacraficing is worth waiting on and waiting on blessings. It will happen, but right now I need to concentrate on doing the work," he said.
Doing the work, while raising a family of his own. He has a wife and four children.
"It takes a very special person to take time out of his job and his family his own kids to cater to the less fortunate kids," Tasia Taylor said. Kids like her son Kawan.
"I just know I got something to do now to look forward to instead of just sitting and playing games," Kawan said.
And Donovan is already rewriting his story.
A year into the program the failing student surprised everyone. The last semester of the school year he made all A's and B's and one D on his report card.
His mother called Ronald.
"I said thank you. He said for what. I said you changed my kid. You changed my kid. That's all that matters."
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