CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A local program is changing the lives of former convicts, felons, and gang members by training them for jobs and careers.
It's a pilot program from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland called "Pathway to Resilience."
Launched late last year, the program is a six month career readiness and mentoring program for young men who were incarcerated or involved in gang activity. The program and it's mentors want to put these men on the right path, despite all they've been through.
The men attend training sessions at the Boys and Girls Club five days a week, and some say they've seen major changes already.
"Often time when you first me them, they would look away and now they're starting to build their confidence, starting to get a great understanding of who they are and what they want to become," said Ron Soeder, president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland.
Steve Rosen, one of the co-CEOs of Resilience Capital Partners, says many of the mentors and young men have been in similar situations.
"Well, isn't that powerful? We all think we're alone and no one came from where I came from and what I had to endure, the hardships," said Rosen.
Ambus Shephard has been attending training sessions and workshops since May. He says initially, he didn't want to be involved.
"I wasn't really on it, I didn't want to do it because the stuff I was so stuck on the streets. But I've got four boys and I wanted to make a change for them," he said.
Mentors at the club say they've seen major developments in the men, adding their desires to want more out of life is crucial.
One of the goals is to get these men ready for a career. All of the men say this is program gives them hope for their futures.
"I have kids to look after. I can't be out here doing the same dumb stuff I was doing. I want to make a change for them, I'm not living for myself anymore," said Shephard.