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      Men of Distinction program aims to prevent youth from gang involvement

      40 young men run basketball drills

      The goal of the "Men of Distinction" program is to steer young men away from violence and gangs and engage them in school and their community.

      A program for at risk young men was already in place at Martin Luther King Elementary School, however the YMCA was able to secure a $75,000 grant with help from the District Attorney's office, Congressman Sanford Bishop's office, and the Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to enhance the program.

      Administrators say they will work on character building, participate in after school tutorials for CRCT test prep, and play basketball.

      Officials measure the success of the program based on CRCT scores and behavioral changes in the young men.

      YMCA Executive Director Dave Wallace says he hopes to secure more funds so the program can expand to help more young men.

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