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      Program helps expelled students succeed

      There's a new program in Dougherty County to help students who have been expelled or suspended from school. It is the 4-E Learning and Prevention Center and it helps students get back on the right track after being expelled from school.

      "We're going to get them off the street, we're going to try to get them something positive to do," Executive Director Jerome Smith said."And like the old saying, we're going to take back our community."

      Smith and his wife Barbara had a vision nearly a decade ago. That's when they started Students For Change. That has now blossomed into the 4-E Learning and Prevention Center.

      This program is for school-aged children. The children are at the center weekdays from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. He says they have members from different backgrounds there to help the children.

      Solomon Loud, Jr. is the pastor at New Beginning Missionary Baptist Church across the street and says this is great for the community.

      "It will also reach and get those children that have fallen through the cracks and gives them an opportunity to further themselves and prepare themselves for life," Loud said.

      Smith says his goal is to get all of these students back in the school system. He says they teach academics as well as character education and work with their entire family to improve their lives.

      "We're going to have a tracking system where each one of kids that leaves here, they will have a mentor, they will have a partner and a pal," Smith said.

      That mentor will stay in contact with the children to help with any issues they face. He says they've already received a lot of positive feedback. He hopes to have about 40 people signed up within the week and more sponsors to help fund it.

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