MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Retired schoolteacher, Darlene Martin, has started a pilot program for students ages 10 to 18 in Mobile County called “Lead One, Teach One.” Martin’s program sponsors 20 students, 10 girls and 10 boys, around Mobile County for five weeks.

The students are paid $10 an hour for up to 10 hours a week to attend the training. They meet in-person once a week to focus on a life-lesson or an educational topic and then, the students take the rest home to work on it with their parents.

Some of the students’ parents also attend the trainings for which they will be paid $15 an hour for up to 5 hours a week for working with their student on the lesson for the week, at home.

“The consistent youth violence it’s like they don’t have anything else better to do and I don’t know about some of these games, the Fortnite and all that, but if they’re spending 24/7 killing and thinking about killing and stuff like that, then they’re going to want to act on it. So I’m just giving them something else to concentrate on,” said Martin. “Everybody doesn’t want to be bad or do bad. Sometimes we just don’t have any other option, so I just wanted to give them another option.”

Sharoll Mitchell, a mom of three students that are attending the program, says it’s refreshing to see someone in the community pouring into the youth.

“There’s so much distractions out there,” said Mitchell. “There was a time when there was training and you could actually see the evidence of it so I just think this program is going to be so beneficial for my boys and my daughter as well.”

This week’s lesson is on time management and learning how to communicate.

At the end of the program the students will pick another person around their age and pass on what they learned.

Right now, Martin is using free venues to host these trainings and also coming out of her own pocket to provide supplies, allowances and food to her students.

She took to the city council meeting July 5 to request funding to keep her new training going. That request is still in the Council’s hand.

For more information, including how to donate to the program, contact Darlene Martin via email at dbaker302010@gmail.com.

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