The Four Corners Group, a nonprofit headquartered in Kennesaw, offers a variety of effective programs for at-risk students. The staff and volunteers at Four Corners seek to decrease juvenile recidivism and end the school-to-prison pipeline. They accomplish this by providing youth with education, support and empowerment to realize their full potential and live successful lives.
The students they serve are:
• Historically underserved and facing challenges.
• Attending Title I schools.
• Dropped out of school.
• Enrolled in an alternative school.
• Recently released from juvenile detention centers.
• Currently involved in the juvenile court system or juvenile facilities.
“One of the most eye-opening and impactful things that occurs at our youth development organization is the transformation of our youth,” said Ron Green, program developer of Four Corners Group.
Serving in the schools and detention centers of Cobb County, the nonprofit offers a variety of programming, including an eight-week Pathways to Success program, which covers topics such as character education, integrity and self-control, emotional health and job-readiness training. “As a resident of Cherokee County, my hope is to expand our programs into my home county this year,” Green said.
“Many of our participants come from challenging backgrounds — severe poverty, abuse, violence, underachievement, no direction, low self-esteem and more,” Green said. “(Yet) most participants experience a change in psyche during our programs. They simply morph into young people who become the best versions of themselves. They become leaders in their homes, schools and communities.”
Four Corners’ 1625 Initiative involves trained teams visiting youth in juvenile detention centers and holding workshops. The group also offers a Parenting on Purpose program, in-school programs, Toastmasters (a club that teaches public speaking and leadership skills) and a Continuum of Care program, in which students are partnered with a mentor and success coach for the year following graduation.
“Let me tell you about one of our shining stars, Phillip, a teenager who was in the juvenile detention center because of misconduct,” Green said. “After finishing our program and being appointed to one of our success coaches, Phillip is now gainfully employed and on track for an internship at BMW! I have a special place in my heart for these kids, because my past is similar to theirs, in many ways.”
Joshua, also a successful Four Corners participant, shared his experience: “Wow, what a blessed opportunity it was to come to the Four Corners Pathways program. Honestly, I learned a lot and developed a passion for public speaking. Before Four Corners I wouldn’t ever have thought I had a voice, but this program really built my confidence. I’m forever thankful.”
Stories like Phillip’s and Joshua’s are heard over and over at Four Corners. To keep the momentum going of restoring hope for young people in crisis, William Johnson, the founder, built a team that consists of success coaches, Parenting on Purpose coaches, mentors and other vital support staff.
Johnson has a deep passion for youth in urban communities. Before launching Four Corners Group, he equipped students, adults and leaders to rise to the top for more than 14 years as a student pastor with Young Life, a worldwide organization. He also served as chaplain for the Gwinnett Youth Detention Center for seven years. His goal is to bring awareness to the need for social justice and inspire more leaders to get involved in reaching out in their own backyards, to unlock our communities and save our youth.
Four Corners volunteers are critically important for the organization’s growth. If you have a desire to get involved with developing the future generation, visit the Volunteer tab at https://fourcornersgroup.net/en. Opportunities also are available to help with operational needs, such as providing a wish-list item. The list includes such things as a rolling white board; Samsung tablets; gift cards from Walmart, Amazon, Kroger, etc.; and Pathways cohort meal sponsorships. For more information, visit the website, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 470-210-1625.
– Susan Schulz is a Bible teacher and mentor who lives and plays on the Etowah River in Canton. Connect with her on social media or at susanbrowningschulz.com.