By Brittany Black
DALLAS – For Jerrick Nash and Tevodrick Turner, the road to college has been filled with pot holes and detours, but the Wynnewood Community Services Center helped clear their path.
“Being at Wynnewood changed my life,” Nash said. “It gave me something positive to do and kept me out of trouble.”
The Wynnewood Community Services Center is a ministry of Buckner International which serves inner-city, low income families in South Dallas. Wynnewood offers an after-school program, job readiness training, senior citizen activities, counseling services and spiritual enrichment.
Nash and Turner participated in the after-school program for most of their lives. The program provides a safe place for kids to stay after school and encourages them to pursue their goals. Nash and Turner must have been listening.
“All the people here have walked us in faith and straightened us out,” Nash said.
Lead life specialist Spencer Watkins, known as Mr. Spencer, has offered support and advice to the boys their entire lives.
“Mr. Spencer was definitely our biggest mentor,” Turner said.
“He had a lot to do with us getting so far,” Nash agreed.
Friends and family came to the community center for a graduation party where both boys received encouragement and gifts. Generous, anonymous Buckner supporters provided Nash and Turner each with a $10,500 scholarship and dorm room essentials.
Watkins told the boys how proud he was of them and encouraged the other youth in attendance that they could reach for higher goals, too.
“These two boys went through many trials and tribulations, but I know that they have the heart to be successful,” Watkins said about the two high school graduates. “They are doing what this whole center is trying to get every kid to do.”
Cheryl Williams, director of Wynnewood apartment ministries, stressed that she expects great things from the two boys and offered advice.
“Keep your eye on the prize, no matter what the distractions,” she said.
Nash received a basketball scholarship for Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas, where he wants to study computer engineering. Turner received a football scholarship to Friends University in Wichita, Kan., where he also plans to study computer engineering.
Watkins told the boys he would do everything he could to support them.
“I see how they met the challenges and how far they can go,” Watkins said. “Like I told their mothers, they are ready to fly.”
To learn more about the ways you can help support children through Buckner after-school programs, contact Buckner Foundation at 214-758-8050.
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