Helping kids reshape their outlook

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Helping kids reshape their outlook Kenvontae Jackson has faced a lot of uncertainty in his young life.

His family moved. He changed schools. He lost friends. His house burned down. His brother is serving a 64-year prison sentence. Once, during a neighborhood gunfight, he was pulled to safety by a relative who had one arm around Kenvontae while using the other to fire his weapon.

But Tae, as he is known to friends, is determined not to be dragged down by negative experiences. He has found a second home at the Club, where he is a leader, a junior staff member and a kid who takes advantage of opportunities. One of those opportunities came in 2017, when Tae, now 17, was chosen for a summer internship with the Northeast Ohio Research Education Medicine Alliance, an innovative collaboration between Cleveland Clinic, Cuyahoga Community College and Kent State University. Tae wants to become a registered nurse.

“(Nursing) is something I really want to do, and the internship was great,” he says.

None of this would have happened if Tae hadn’t challenged his own initial thoughts that the Club “was just another rec center. It is so much more. It is somewhere you want to be. It shows you what you want to be in life.”