AIM for Youth taking aim at South Georgia teens - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

AIM for Youth taking aim at South Georgia teens

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July 17, 2005

Dougherty County- Sunday about 50 kids from Open Arms and Englewood got a chance to talk with some prominent athletes. Many have experienced hardship growing up. A new organization called AIM for Youth is hoping that by provide opportunities and positive role models so these kids may learn an important lesson.

They play for the Tennessee Titans, and Pittsburgh Steelers, but Sunday Todd Williams and Alonzo Jackson were just two guys hanging out, playing ball.

"I just want to go around the country inspiring kids, people, youth to believe that they can make it," said Todd Williams of the Tennessee Titans.

"You want to get out here and show them that okay, you can succeed, okay I came from the same situation that you came from and you can make it, you can succeed," said Alonzo Jackson of the Pittsburgh Steelers and an Americus native.

They're part of a new initiative, Athletic Improvement and Mentoring for Youth or AIM. Both went through hard times growing up and want to show underprivileged youth something they didn't get.

"When I was their age, I was on the streets and there really wasn't too many role models to teach me, encourage me, try to stir me to believe that there was more to life than always getting in trouble," said Williams.

The NFL Players say that's why it's so important they set a good example both on and off the field. "They go out in the community and they see guys doing this that and the other, but now you see somebody that's doing something positive for themselves and coming back to help them out," said Jackson.

"You're not born with it, you have to be taught how to respect other people and be appreciative to peoples time, and kids aren't getting taught respect and proper etiquette," said Williams.

That's what the programs hopes to do teach these kids that they can succeed and do it in a positive, well mannered way.

"I just want to raise their goals just a little bit. I want them to believe that they can be something better than probably what somebody else told them that they couldn't be," said Jackson.

AIM opened their headquarters this weekend right here in Albany. Right now the organization is running programs here in Georgia, Florida, and in Pennsylvania, but hopes for the idea to spread nationwide.

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