HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- A Huntsville organization is on a mission to try and help young people reach their full academic potential while giving them guidance and life skills.
The program aims to reach young men who are missing a positive male influence in their lives. "When I get older and stuff, I'll probably like come by and donate," said student Jaden Austin
'Real Fathers Making a Difference' (R. Fathers M.A.D.) is 'really' making an impact in Huntsville.
"All of them are great young men, but some of them are limited because of family dynamics. A lot of them are some from single parent homes, so their exposure is limited," said executive director and founder, L.C. Smith.
The non-profit works to give these bright young men the exposure and support they may be missing in their day to day lives. "Those are my sons. I have like 200, 300, 400 sons now."
The 10-year-old foundation offers programs like education and youth development, scholarships and tutoring. They also work with foster children and schools in the area.
On a cloudy Saturday morning, sixth through twelfth graders learned practical skills at Action Auto Electric, helping their families and themselves.
While jacking up a car or fixing a tire will get them back on the road again -- it's the confidence and the knowledge that will keep them driving forward.
"Knowing how to look someone in the eye and stuff and not get nervous," said Austin.
"I was shy, and now I'm starting to come out of my shell," explained student Devontay Robinson.
Many of the young men stay in touch in and after college. Attending meetings regularly, even if it means driving an hour or two from school. "It's a good feeling knowing that I've been given this purpose and this gift on such a level that these guys do not disappear in thin air once they graduate from high school, and we are still significant enough in their lives that we can keep a connection," said Smith.
The knowledge and support, leading to bright futures.
"Imma try and go to Troy University, try to become a teacher," said Austin.
"I'll be a basketball player or a football player," Devontay told us.
"Outside of school I love to dance, and animate. I just really hope that this program helps me get ahead in one of those," said student Jaden Grow.
Giving them a way to pay it forward, and make a difference.
The organization will have their annual scholarship and awards celebration on September 8 at 6 p.m. where they will honor outstanding students and a father of the year. The evening also helps raise money for college scholarships.