Britto Tutt likes being ahead. Project Y.E.S. helps him do that.
"They teach me some things before I learn it in school, so when my class gets to it, it's easier for me," said the 13-year-old.
Britto, a seventh-grader at Collins Elementary School, has been attending Project Y.E.S. (Youth Exemplifying Success) at Shiloh Comprehensive Community Center for two years.
"Our goal for Project Y.E.S. is to mold our young men and young women to be positive role models in the community, in school and at home," said Brenda Shedrick, the youth coordinator.
"Our goal is to also reduce the dropout rate, keep our young people focused and teach them to turn away from trouble, to make positive decisions."
Britto was making C's and D's when he entered the program, but within a few weeks his grades began to improve, Shedrick said. Now, he makes mostly A's and B's.
When his grades improved, something else did, too.
"I stopped talking a lot," he said. "I'm focused more on my work, so I don't talk as much or play around."
He has become a role model for the other participants, Shedrick said.
"He's a pretty good kid," she said. "The thing is, he has a strong mother behind him. If I call her, she'll be here in five minutes."
He has also become a peer tutor for others in the program.
"I help the little kids with addition and subtraction," he said, noting that math is his favorite subject.
He is considering a career in technology, possibly engineering, he said.
In addition to tutoring, the program offers mentoring; field trips, including college visits; guest speakers; and rewards for those striving to do well.
"We get a chance to have a little bit of free time, get a break from doing work," he said. "I really like the trips, because when we get back we can talk about it. Some people don't like being in after-school programs because they think all they're going to do is schoolwork. It's not like that here."