WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — In neighborhoods with high crime and low investment, it can be more difficult for children to succeed. A Palm Beach County nonprofit is expanding its efforts to provide hope.
“It’s not a job. It’s a way of life, it’s a passion. It’s something that drives us and it’s something that comes naturally,” Dalilah Gonzales said.
Gonzales is one of three “Lady Hope Dealers.”
“The girls who we are trying to reach are the girls we are trying to prevent from going through anything we’ve seen or been through,” Mavis Pettway said.
Gonzales and Pettway help run the mentorship program with help from Ricky Aiken, the founder of Inner City Innovators.
From group meetings to spa nights, the goal is to create a safe space for local teens to open up.
“A lot of people that are in our community that we came from, specifically here downtown West Palm Beach, who are going through a lot of things that are normally unspoken about,” Gonzales said.
People like Daneyris Perez.
“I was in foster care for a year,” Perez said. “I was separated from my brothers a lot and I didn’t have so many people to talk to.”
Now she has a dozen young women to lean on for support.
“It’s closed doors,” she said. “It’s not open. Whatever is going on you can talk with any of the members.”
For Keisha Walker, a mom of three, the program gives her comfort.
“People don’t always want to tell their mom things,” Walker said. " But having them is that extra oomph that the children need to make it through life.”
To learn more about Inner City Innovators, click here.