CINCINNATI - Daniel Braswell and Kurtis Wittle are success stories. Both managed to rise out of hopelessness thanks to Cincinnati's Boys Hope Girls Hope.
Now a $25,000 grant from entrepreneur Richard Simmons could help BHGH expand its mission for student success and violence prevention.
Boys Hope Girls Hope says they've already proven that success with 86 percent of students graduating from college after being removed from violent and tough situations.
"We take guardianship of their education,” said BHGH President Debbie Bowman. “We extract them out of that tough environment where they live in very healthy homes, where they're loved and they're given all the tools to succeed."
For Braswell, that means reaching graduate school at UC.
“I'm in the doctorate of physical therapy program," Braswell said.
For Wittle, it means recently earning a high school diploma through hard work, discipline and “studying 2+ hours a night."
The BHGH program has been going strong for more than three decades in Cincinnati. Right now it’s supporting 24 kids in its home. But Bowman is looking to expand.
"The larger we grow, the bigger impact we're going have,” said Bowman. “It's all about funding."
The program not only aims at promoting education but also stopping violence in the community.
"It's through education and community relations that you can change and stop this violence," Bowman said.
"I've never seen an organization to not only put Band-Aids on it but really uproot the problems that all contribute to missed opportunities," said Braswell.
Wittle knows many others can benefit.
"Kids in low-income areas that are way smarter than what I am can really use this organization," Wittle said.
Boys Hope Girls Hope is now planning a community outreach event in the next few months to get even more young people involved.