Business owners teaching young men with criminal histories a trade

Young men, trying to move past their own criminal history are now getting help from Atlanta-area business owners.

Business owners are taking these guys under their wings and teaching them a trade to help them get their lives on the right track.

Darrell Sellers was just released from jail a couple of months ago. It was the fourth time he's been incarcerated. At 22  years old, for him, it was a way of life.  But this time, he said he's determined to make a change.

"Nobody is there when you're locked up and when you get out you feel like everybody owes you something which actually they don't," said Sellers.  

Sellers is now part of the U-Turn Program. It teams up those ages 16 to 25 who have criminal records with local business owners willing to teach them a trade.

Delores Powell who runs Cool Kids Committee Inc., a program that helps troubled youth, came up with the idea.

"They can take that same hustle mentality on a trade they're learning, and it will keep them off the streets and earn money in a more positive way," said Powell.

Jamine Solomon runs Furious Styles Barber Shop in Marietta. He's passing along his skills to a young man with a criminal history.

"He kind of figured outgoing the illegal route to get money wasn't the key, so he wanted to learn a trade," said Solomon.

Solomon said as they work, they talk.

"We talk about his future, keeping him on track. We talk about his friends because even if you learn a trade if you have the wrong friends you're going to get in trouble," said Solomon.

Sellers is now working with Unique Painters.  He's learning how to caulk and sand and paint.  Along the way, he's picking up some important life lessons.

"We talk and I'm teaching him some life skills and about staying out of trouble," said the owner of Unique Painters, Shannon Powell.

For Sellers, it's a new world.  He's learning a trade and he has someone holding him accountable.

"I'm just going to do something positive instead of just continuing to do the negative," said Sellers.

The program is relatively new.  Powell encourages other businesses to get involved.  You can find more information and how to contact Delores Powell with Cool Kids Committee Inc, on their website,

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