During the course, students enter into an agreement to attend the course and complete the assignments. Community leaders partner with Integrity Outreach to present sessions focusing on money management, self-image and career guidance. Unique to the course is a customized action plan and six-month mentor follow-up plan.
Pettite said that his motivation stems from a life-changing experience he had in his teens. A cancer survivor, Pettite met another teen fighting cancer as they were both undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. As they shared their frustration about the exhausting and debilitating process, Pettite was shocked and humbled when he heard the other youth say, "At least I have something to eat." After that, Pettite decided to devote his energy to helping people who were less fortunate.
Now in his seventh year at Church in the Now, Pettite has enjoyed visiting housing projects with the Street Jam team. The trailer literally opens up to offer a live concert and minister to eager crowds. The ministry grew and soon developed basketball teams. Soon, the teams were competing at church league games. The teams even earned several trophies, but, as Pettite followed the lives of players, he noticed that many dropped out of school or ended up in jail.
He wanted to do something about closing the gap. "I wanted to have a shake at it." He and his team realized that many of the youth were missing basic life skills that most people take for granted. In response, they developed the Life Skills program. Pettite quoted Proverbs 29:18 (NIV) "Where there is no vision, the people perish."
It involves a lot of commitment from the volunteers and the teens. But the difference in the teens between their first class and graduation is, "like night and day," said Pettite.
The next session begins on Tuesday, September 15, at 7 p.m. Each week's session runs 90 minutes. A $50 donation is requested at registration. Ninth through 12th grade students who attend are asked to make an agreement to the program and sign a contract with the ministry. Any youth or parent who wants to register their teenager can contact Petitte at 678-607-3106.
The program is also looking for businesses looking for a tax deductible charity and any adults in the community that would like to discuss serving as a mentor. For more information, contact the same number above.