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Mentoring Program Keeps Falls Teens Off the Street

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — Dejuaine Motley knows what it’s like to be on the streets.”I walked these avenues. I walked these streets.”

The pastor shared his story with teens in Niagara Falls Thursday night, hoping they learn from his mistakes.

“They have to first be disciplined. No one owes them anything,” said Motley.

It’s all part of Winning Because I Tried, A 12-week program founded by former pro basketball player Modie Cox. His goal is to keep inner-city youth off the streets.

“We wanted to give them something positive that they could wrap their arms around. We just didn’t want it to be sports related. We wanted to give them some type of life skills component,” Cox said.

Each week, teens meet for a mentoring session with staff and guest speakers who’ve “been there” and then hit the courts.

“We run three games per day, and we’ll get out of here around 8:30 tonight. So essentially from 3:30 to 5:30, those kids are off the streets.”

And it seems to be working. 40 teens take part in the Niagara Falls program.

‘Winning Because I Tried’ has grown so much it stretches from Western New York to Toronto and now the founder has his sights set on New York City.

“Our hope is that once they leave our hands is that all this stuff is still fresh in their minds and they’ll realize that in order to get ahead in life they’ve got to make better choices,” Cox.

Better choices despite difficult circumstances.

“Listen. Even though you come from the ghetto, even though you live in the inner city, you still can be somebody. You just have to have hard work and dedication,” Motley said. Visit TWCNews.com to watch video »