A career readiness mentoring program is recruiting youth in Northwest Philadelphia, including East Germantown and West Oak Lane.
Program director Eugene Pough founded the program, LITSPORTS, or Leaders in Training Sports Program.
“I basically started the program because I’ve seen the need to bring in mentors, particularly male adults to service and help uplift African American youth,” Pough said.
He created the program when he realized that many young people were interested in sports, but not education. The program hopes to provide resources and education that will be beneficial whether youth become professional athletes or not.
Aside from a one-on-one mentoring, LITSPORTS goal is to help each child create a career path. The youth is paired with mentors to produce a ‘build a career’ project for several months.
“So once they get to high school, they already have the knowledge and understanding of what they want to go through,” Pough said. “Then that’ll prepare them for the next step which would be post secondary education or the career workforce. ”
A second mentor, Michael Anderson Sr., is excited for youth to create career paths but said there is more to the picture. Anderson said a career path is important, but how the youth travel on that path is vital.
“You have to be diligent to do anything,” Anderson said. “So that’s my idea of, you know, being a good mentor to them teaching and diligence and allowing those umbrella resources that they already have to go ahead and establish their calls.”
But career preparation is not the only aspect LITSPORTS covers. Philadelphia Firefighter Tre Bell is a mentor for the program and finds it important to teach financial literacy. His goal is to help youth understand the consequences of spending versus the consequences of investing.
“When you look up the definition of spend, spend means to waste, spend means to squander,” Bell said.
Bell approaches this topic with CASHFLOW, a financial literacy board game for youth. The game was created by entrepreneur and motivational speaker Robert Kiyosaki. It is an interactive tool to teach investing and wealth building.
“I just wanted to come and bring a different flavor than the traditional mentoring about the college and careers,” Bell said. “So as a mentor, I’m coming in and I’m having fun, because they’re at the age where they’re still just learning.”
LITSPORTS meets every Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. at the West Oak Lane Free Library. They have completed two sessions, but still look to recruit more youth in the surrounding areas.