MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A group of young black men in Milwaukee are making a difference, not only in the community, but in their own lives as well. FOX6 shows you why so many are saying thank you to a true hero of the neighborhood.
At the corner of 9th and Ring in Milwaukee, there's a man with the power to impact young lives forever.
"He talked mostly about becoming a man," says Freddie Outlaw.
Andre Ellis has a garden, and every Saturday, he gathers black boys and puts them to work.
"It keeps me out of trouble. It makes me feel great. Just being in a place to help people clean up the community," says 14-year-old Freddie Outlaw.
From 8:00 o'clock a.m. until noon, the kids pick up trash from their streets and plant vegetables in the garden. Ellis watches over them and keeps them in line.
"Some of the things that Mr. Andre has taught us responsibility. If we`re not here on time, we get sent home," says 14-year-old Trevione Jones.
For many kids, he's the closest thing they have to a father.
"When you have a group of 47 kids, and you say, how many of you don`t know your father and 38 of them raise your hands," says Andre Ellis.
The kids do get compensated for their efforts, $20 dollars each. All of the money for the program is donated to Ellis, but it's clear that the experience is priceless.
"I was a troublemaker. I was fighting people on the block. He kept me from going to jail and stuff," says Jermaine Stevens.
A group of boys, who now know what it takes to be a man.
Ellis's program will wrap up in mid August, but he isn't abandoning the kids once they head back to school. Phase two includes taking what's learned in the classroom, and continuing that education after school, and on the weekends.