January 16, 2011
An Albemarle County teacher is working to change young lives both in and out of the classroom. In this week's Stephanie's Heroes, CBS19's Stephanie Satchell features Wes Bellamy. He recently created an after-school program called HYPE to mentor teens and keep them on the right track academically and personally.
From homework assignments to boxing lessons, Wes Ballamy, spends most of his time encouraging area teens to accomplish their goals in the classroom, boxing ring, and beyond.
"The program was created to instill discipline and that's one of the biggest things I noticed that the kids don't have. So, if I can be that one to instill it and just help out a few, then that's what I'll do," said Ballamy.
Bellamy grew up without a father in his life, now he is trying to be a positive male role model for young men like him. That's why many think of Bellamy as a hero. He founded a mentoring program called HYPE, it stands for Helping Young People Evolve.
"We wanted to to create this to give them somewhere to go, get out some of that frustration, and let them hit the punching bag, but most importantly show them that there's other outlets. You don't have to go out and do things in the streets," said Bellamy.
"It gives you a positive way to take your anger out," said Ja'Khai Rhodes, a HYPE participant.
Bellamy coaches students through discipline exercises like push ups, jump rope and breathing techniques. However, before teens can put on the gloves, they have to hit the books.
Bellamy is teaching them that school work always comes first.
"There's a large achievement gap between African American students and Caucasian counterparts," said Bellamy. "Being a school teacher myself I realize just how important it is for our young African American kids, and our kids in general, to focus on the academic side as well as the athletics."
HYPE may be new, but that is not stopping Bellamy from giving it his all. He has big dreams for the program and every teen that takes part.
Students say HYPE is changing their lives, and through Bellamy they have more than just a teacher and a coach, they have a new friend.