Aug 24, 2010 8:06 PM by John Romero
As Manitou Springs teachers and students prepare for another school year, the "Partners for Healthy Choices" program is taking shape. It's designed .to help steer kids in the right direction, and to turn around those kids on the fringe of making bad choices. Program director Laurie Wood says it's a very open program; not focusing on sessions, but rather one on one relationship building with kids. "I believe that it's important for our young people as well as multi-generationally to come back to the simple idea of real connections and real relationships as a face to face interaction." she says.
A familiar face is a big part of the program. Former Manitou Springs football standout Justin Armour has returned to his hometown not only as head football coach, but as a mentor. "I enjoy the energy of young people." explains Armour, "I enjoy their perspective." Armour knows what wrong choices can do to a life. His brother died at the age of 26 after years of drug abuse. "I think my job here is to reach out to those kids and help them broaden their prospective of what's possible in their lives." he says.
The hope is to not only create a healthier student, but a healthier Manitou Springs as well. "This community functions better when people feel safe when they walk down the street. When business owners see teens and say yeah, come on in." says Wood. "This group exists. Let's help them. Let's love them. Let's be there for them." says Armour, "Let's all lean on them and let's fill the gaps where there's gaps in those kids' lives.