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WDEL's Delaware EducationWatch
with Amy Cherry


Duffy's Hope restores hope for troubled Wilm. youth

Many of Wilmington's youth walk into Duffy's Hope's weekly Monday mentoring meetings thinking...

Brian Williamson: "I didn't think it was going to do anything for me."

Herman Congo: "At first, I didn't feel like doing it. I thought it was going to be a waste of my time."

But Herman Congo and Brian Williamson now admit, they were wrong. Duffy has transformed their lives and the lives of others like Brittney Womack.

Brittney Womack: "I'd have somebody to talk to, and not just be bottled up with my problems, you know, actually open up," says Womack.

For Congo, it was more of an attitude adjustment.

Congo: "I don't argue with my mom no more hardly like that. Duffy made me understand that shut your mouth and listen to what your mom says instead of getting smart back."

Duane Grimes says he's gone from a "don't think just do" person to a "think it through person." He thanks Duffy for loosening up his hard head.

Duane Grimes: "It seems like I'm a more happier person. I'm more focused on my school work now because before I was like, 'School, who needs that? Really?' Now I'm planning on going to college. Before, I was kind of shaky on it."

That said volunteer Rosa Howze says the program is like many others -- what you make of it.

Rosa Howze: "This is not your everyday meet-up group where you kind of sit here and just do your time."

Duffy's Hope provides youth like Duane Grimes and Congo with guidance, emotional and intellectual support and a level of family that these youth don't have otherwise.

Grimes: "And since I don't have like a real Dad, I guess Mr. Duffy's like my Dad."

Congo agrees.

Congo: "He's like another Dad, and he's always there for you. If you need help, or you need to ask him something, you can ask him then because he's always there for you."

Howze says the program is one of many more needed to curb crime in Wilmington.

Howze: "If they didn't have a program like this, they would be on the street."

It helps teens cope with the peer pressures of drugs and alcohol, and instead, refocuses their attention on college and careers.

Howze: "When they step outside of this group, they're going to face those same realities every day, but hopefully the little seeds that are planted inside of them will help them maintain it and grow and be stronger."

For more information, visit Duffy's Hope

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