Killeen: Non-profit pairs up young offenders with mentors

KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) Every child needs a strong role model for guidance and in Bell County, a non-profit organization called I.M.P.A.C Outreach is making that possible for some troubled youth.

(Photo by Kristen Victorin)

The organization connects offenders from the Bell County Juvenile Detention Center with mentors around the community.

I.M.P.A.C stands for Intelligent Minds Proving and Applying Commitment and is dedicated to to helping children in the area find support from positive influences.

For those looking to turn their lives around the program pairs these young offenders with mentors to learn from.

In cases like 16-year-old Levi Hazelwood, he works as an apprentice at George Automotive in Killeen shadowing the owner, George Davidson.

But Hazlewood didn't know how real the possibility was until he found himself in the juvenile detention center after getting caught with drugs at school.

"I know it sounds crazy but had I not gotten incarcerated last year I don't know if I'd still be alive right now,” Hazlewood said. “The things I was involved in could get you killed."

Davidson saw much potential in Hazlewood since he began earlier this summer.

"I realized that he was a very smart individual and I know he retains a lot and that's a plus,” Davidson said. “It's a good chance he can make it in this environment.”

Hazlewood said he has been on a straight path since finding his passion and receiving guidance and support from a role model like Davidson.

He wants others like him to know help is near.

"They can get anywhere in life, just focus on what you want to do and if you need help ask for help,” Hazlewood said. “There's always somebody that you know that knows somebody else that'll help you get where you're going.”

The program will go on until the end of the summer for him but he says he plans to stay as long as his mentor will have him.

I.M.P.A.C Outreach is always seeking more mentors.

Applications and more information to become a volunteer mentor can be found at http://www.impacoutreach.org/impac-outreach.