High Aspirations: Young men learn to give back

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Instead of kicking back this Memorial Day weekend, some metro teens spent part of their Saturday giving back.  The group High Aprirations pairs boys from the urban core with mentors.

On Saturday, they learned how to mow lawns and pent the morning cleaning up vacant lots.  Cutting down overgrowth, pales in comparison to the obstacles these boys often have to cut away in life.

"When you look in the media and you see these kids doing the things that they're doing, it's because they don't have anything to do and so we're seeking to improve the quality of their life," said High Aspirations founder Henry Wash told FOX 4 News.

The mentoring program is for African Americans eight to 18 years of age.

"We support them socially, emotionally, academically and spiritually," Wash explained.

The boys meet four times a month to learn about hard work, leadership and giving back through community service.  All are qualities more than a dozen young men put to use Saturday.

"I'm going to be mowing the grass," one boy said.

Wash said for many of the boys, learning how to cut grass is a first.

"So many role models in our community now are not here anymore and someone has to take the torch and show these people how to do other things,  And cutting grass is something good they can learn how to do a lot of things after they learn how to cut grass," Wash explained.

Blade by blade, a plot of land once neglected has now being nurtured.  Many of the boys in the program are hoping to turn their skills into a summer mowing service.

Wash said it's a way to earn an honest living, while beautifying their community.

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