CLEVELAND — For many young people, letting loose and living their best lives comes with challenges.
Believers Achieve Dreams is doing just that. The Berea-based nonprofit is stepping up to make sure every child gets that shot to just be a kid.
As each foot makes contact then races to first base, the happiness a simple kickball game brings can be seen on the faces of the students at Believers Achiever Dreams’ summer camp.
"That's my biggest joy out of all of it. I love seeing kids be kids," said James Ringfield.
Ringfield said he saw a huge need for opportunities like this for children in Northeast Ohio.
"You'd be surprised at the amount of kids who never been bowling, kids who've never driven a go-kart, who've never been in laser tag," said Ringfield.
Mixed-in with all the fun of new experiences that parents often can't afford you'll find messages to inspire, along with the tools to help young people succeed.
"Without an education it's tough out here. It's necessary to include the life skills component to help them understand variations of life and how to be kind, how to love one another,” said Ringfield.
Over the last two decades, Ringfield has mentored more than 1,700 children.
"We're built to deal with tougher kids. Majority of them need a structure that will hold them within the boundaries,” said Ringfield.
For Jarell McGraw, Believers Achieve Dreams Academy not only gives him a much-needed summer escape, but it has also helped him unleash his confidence.
"This is actually amazing. I love this camp. Even though I am fourteen, I can still do anything. You can accomplish anything you want if you put your mind to and be respectful to others,” said McGraw.
That message also resonates with Matthew Ellis.
“Anything you put your mind to you can do it,” said Ellis.
The soon-to-be freshman in high school describes this camp as a giant hug.
"It feels like home. Feels like home,” said Ellis.
Which is where this teen said he would be spending a lot of his summer if not for James Ringfield.
"He's confident at everything he does," said Ellis.
He has a message for the Believers Achieve Dreams founder.
“Thank you for the work you put in. Thank you for letting us go places because I don't really go nowhere when I'm at home, so it's nice to see places and meet new people," said Ellis.
But Ringfield said that for him, this is not work.
"It's joy and happiness. This is not a job, it's a journey. It's what I get up for every single day is to get up and give these kids everything I have. At the end of this journey, I just want to hear job well done," said Ringfield.