At-Risk Youth Learn to Serve

1 Dec

“Everyone can be great…because anybody can serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.FW Thanksgiving Lessons



The youth enrolled in the FirstWorks After-School Program learned the value of service and the importance of giving back this Thanksgiving.


They were invited by Executive Director, Frederick Cunningham, to help serve dinner on Wednesday November 23,  in the large fellowship hall at Highland Heights United Methodist.


The hall was packed with hungry families who attended the “Jacob’s Well” outreach program, housed at the church.  The kitchen was filled with volunteers arranging an abundance of food as they formed an assembly line to feed several hundred citizens who came to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings.

FW Thanksgiving Lessons 2Cunningham, who mentored FirstWorks youth, Keyonte Morris-Loper, 13 years old, showed him how to wear plastic gloves and where to stand when serving.  He also taught him a very valuable life lesson.

“I believe,” said Cunningham, “it is important that the children at FirstWorks are taught moral values.  It is vital they learn that even though they don’t have a lot of material possessions and many of them come from near-poverty themselves, that whatever our circumstances, we all must give back. Generosity and kindness are not hereditary –  it is learned behavior that must be taught.  Inviting them to help serve this Thanksgiving dinner helped to teach them the importance of giving back.”

FirstWorks, Inc., a 501 c 3 mission, is an after-school academic program for at-risk children and youth living in the zip codes surrounding the intersection of Highland and Summer Avenue.   The program meets twice a week for dinner, tutoring, life skills enhancement, and career advice. Twice monthly, the children are treated to Saturday outings to visit museums, go skating or fishing, or attend ball games.