Pay It Forward: Derrick Stapleton
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS) —
Off of Martin Luther King Drive on Springfield’s eastside is a church that serves as a sanctuary for young African Americans.
"I focus on the citizen aspect of it,” Frontiers International Advisor and Coordinator Derrick Stapleton said.
Frontiers International is a program that takes middle school students and helps shape them into men all the way through their senior year in high school.
Russell Moore III, president of Junior Frontiers, said, "They learn about you and they learn what your struggles are, what your weaknesses are and then they take those and turn it into strengths."
Stapleton has been working with the program and helping guide young men to success for 23 years.
"Showing that concern shows a turn around with the kid because they see that somebody does care," Stapleton said.
Mentoring them at a young age helps keep them focused on school and avoid natural peer pressures that come with growing up.
"He's a big leader and big encourager,” Terrence Harris, an 8th grader in the Positive Youth Development Program, said. “He took us and made us do good things."
"I look to him for guidance... It's like you're coming to a second home when you're coming to these meetings," Moore said.
Doing that is why we've chosen Mr. Stapleton as our Pay It Forward winner.
"I really hope to challenge them to be able to be their own person and be able to withstand all of the obstacles that may come their way," Stapleton said.