CLEVELAND — Direction, discipline and encouragement have proven to be the recipe for success for a program called Students of Promise.
Bob Ivory runs the program. He’s a former corrections officer who used to guide inmates who somewhere along the way got lost. Ivory is still working to get people on the right track, but this time, he’s trying reach teens before they wind up behind bars.
"That's is not the end of the road for them," Ivory said.
Deandre Thomas is one of students who is a part of the program.
"My grades were declining," Thomas said. “When I went to school, there was nothing to look forward to."
Before Students of Promise, Thomas had never left Cleveland. But once he got with the program he started doing better in class and then hit the road to learn more about what our country has to offer.
"I went to multiple states, Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia, Atlanta," Thomas said.
Those trips include visits to historically black colleges and universities and museums. Now, Thomas will be attending Cuyahoga Community College and then Ohio State where he’ll pursue a degree in sports management.
“Sometimes you need that push. You need that person that's always on your back, always telling you what you can do and not what you can't do,” Thomas said.
This story is part of A Better Land , an ongoing series that investigates Northeast Ohio's deep-seated systemic problems. Additionally, it puts a spotlight on the community heroes fighting for positive change in Cleveland and throughout the region. If you have an idea for A Better Land story, tell us here .