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Project Boys2Men, Women2Be

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By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

For more than a year, a metro organization has been helping troubled teenage boys escape gang life and improve in schools. Now, that group, called Boys2Men is launching a program for teenage girls.

We went to Putnam City Academy where some of the girls are in the program. After a few weeks, organizers say it's already working.

In a circle, encouraging conversation, Brenda Cooper of Women2Be, shares her life experience.

"I was a teenage Mom, you need to know that, so I know that struggle," Cooper said.

She's been there, done that. She has since graduated from college and is successful.

"By the time I was 20, I had three children, a husband, going to school full time and working," Cooper said. "And it was quite a chore."

Brenda's a role model and a mentor. Many identify with what she went through.

"A lot of that stuff she was telling me, I can relate to, cause I have a baby already and I'm pregnant again," participant Sha Jones said.

Others who are not moms also learn lessons.

"It's scary," participant Quinteisha Mumford said. "I'm like trying to listen to find out what I need not to do to be in a situation like that."

This program's the brainchild of Project Boys2Men. It's designed to give girls hope. Some are pregnant, in gangs, prone to fighting or behind in credits.

"You don't have to be afraid of any situation that you're in," Lee Williams of Project Boys2Men/Women2Be said. "It can be fixed. We're going to give you the tools to fix it."

The mentors open the lines of communication and gain the girls' trust.

"They show you it's not hard to talk to somebody," participant Kiara McCorkle said. "Like, you could talk to anybody."

"It just makes you realize, you know, you're not the only one who goes through things like this," participant Jamie Whitetail said.

Brenda shows them there's a way out, a better life, they can all achieve.

"It devotes me to do what I got to do and stay in school because I can get an education just like she did," Jones said.

Women2Be is also holding classes at its headquarters in Oklahoma City.

If you're interested in the program, call Project Boys2Men at 525-2324.

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