North Myrtle Beach High School Football player Torraz Rice wishes he had a mentoring program like the one at Riverside Elementary when he was a kid.
“I wasn’t really a bad kid, but just never had a father figure in my life, so that would have been something that would have changed some things in my life when I was younger,” said Rice, who plays Tight End and Defensive End.
You’d be surprised what once night can do. It can ruin your whole life.
Paul Gerald, North Myrtle Beach High School football team
The two-month-old football mentor-ship program is part of a larger mentoring program at Riverside that’s been in place for three years.
The players work mainly with fourth and fifth-grade boys to mentor them on various topics such as peer pressure and leadership, hoping to reach the students before they go to middle school.
I wasn’t really a bad kid, but just never had a father figure in my life, so that would have been something that would have changed some things in my life when I was younger.
Torraz Rice, North Myrtle Beach High School football team
The players got involved in mentoring after the North Myrtle Beach High School football team took part in a Team Dad event at the school several months earlier.
“We just come here and talk to them about ... how their grades have been, how they’ve been keeping up, if they’ve gotten in trouble lately, which they shouldn’t be getting in trouble,” said Rice. “They’re all good kids, they just mess up sometimes.”
The football players come to the school twice a week and on Tuesday, the players were talking to the students about peer pressure.
They are good kids and we’re just trying to keep them good kids by connecting them with positive people.
Felecia Bellamy, Riverside Elementary School guidance counselor
Guidance counselor Felecia Bellamy runs the program and said the mentor-ship program is for all students, and that being in the program doesn’t mean a student has ever been in trouble.
“These kids are good kids,” said Bellamy. “Just because they have been given a mentor does not mean that they aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing. They are good kids and we’re just trying to keep them good kids by connecting them with positive people.”
Tuesday was left guard Paul Gerald’s first time participating in the program. He was paired with fifth-grader Jaden Rivera.
Gerald said that Rivera is “not a bad kid.”
“He constantly gets in trouble for other kids putting him in situations,” said Gerald. “The popular choice isn’t always the right choice. You’re friends might be telling you ‘do this’ and everyone wants you to do it but it doesn’t mean it’s the right decision to make.”
Gerald also talked to Rivera about the importance of being a leader.
“Being a leader is real important growing up so you don’t get in trouble for little things that could ruin you later on in life,” Gerald said. “Like going out to a party and that one night ruins you from going to the college you want. You’d be surprised what once night can do. It can ruin your whole life. So that was one thing I was trying to get across.”
Bellamy said the school is looking into a similar mentoring program for girls using high school cheerleaders in the future.