Ron Anderson, executive director of Project Reclaim, gave an impassioned speech at the Minden Lions Club luncheon Thursday.
Through Project Reclaim’s Youth Leadership Institute, youth from local schools receive leadership and social skills training, meeting with community leaders and traveling to places of interest in order to learn about the community.
A large part of the program, which students are referred to due to their need for additional leadership, social skills and family support through the “Raising Winners!” Effective Parenting Program, is to provide hope.
“When I work with these students, they know I have faith in them,” Anderson said, adding that that faith gives them something to work towards; role models who they don’t want to disappoint.
Anderson says his success is because someone had faith in him.
“Here I am now, in a suit, married to a successful woman and a father of a son who serves in the military.” he said. “If I can do it, they can do it.”
Though the program has not received state funding since 2012, it continues to carry on.
From 2008 through 2012, over 350 youth and families were served, Anderson said. Of those, 92 percent were promoted to the next grade level and 100 percent remained in school, free from trouble and teen pregancy.
“We lost funding because someone thought it wasn’t worth putting money into prevention,” he said.
Though he does not receive a salary, Anderson says the job still leaves him wealthy.
“There is not a bank in the universe that can hold the feeling of hearing ‘thank you’ from those we help.” he said, telling of how he occasionally gets phone calls from people who finished his program. “They call me not out of necessity, but to tell me they’re registering for college. They ask me if I would attend their graduation.”
For more information on Anderson and his projects, visit prstars.org or ronandersonllc.com