CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — ‘Vision to Succeed’ CEO Banio Koroma is teaching kids the value of a dollar by mowing lawns in the neighborhood.
“We’re trying to teach these young men the importance of community service and giving back,” Koroma said. “We’re countering the gang recruitment by providing a legitimate way for them to make some income. We’re paying these young men to come out and take care of their city.”
It’s all a part of his manhood training camp. The boys make $20 an hour trimming grass and cleaning up trash. Fourteen-year-old Caiyere Reid said he’s learned a lot about the value of a dollar and others can do the same.
“It helps people to have something to do, stay focused and not be doing stuff that they’re not supposed to,” Reid said.
Roderick Redding said yard work is nothing new to him.
“It’s not hard, we’re just trimming the yard, cutting up the vines, easy stuff,” Redding said. “I sometimes mow my grandmother’s yard. “
The 13-year-old said the lessons he’s learning are much bigger than cutting grass and knows some kids chose a different path in life. He credits Koroma for helping seek out him and his peers at an early age.
“People my age right now are in gangs, dying doing drugs,” Redding said. “He [Koroma] taught us not to be like other people, be yourself and don’t be a follower.
Koroma said the boys will continue to learn more new skills like landscaping and farm work once a week throughout the summer.