Pahokee man works to give kids place to go; Hikeem Banks says old theater can change lives

Posted at 5:00 PM, Jul 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-12 18:40:52-04

For some kids, summer can lead to trouble.

Pahokee's Hikeem Banks wants to make sure too much free time doesn't send them down the wrong path.

Banks is working to make Pahokee's Prince Theater a place kids can go to get a different view of life.

"In the city of Pahokee it's always about athletes, athletics, football, basketball and stuff like that, I want to have a cultural arts building," Banks says.

When you take a look at the theater, you might think its best days are behind it. Don't tell that to Banks.

"This is a gift from god," he says.

Banks is a high school teacher. He started Balanced Living Mentorship. He helps at risk kids.

Banks knows how easy it can be to get into trouble.

"None of our parents wanted us hanging out on this block right here," Banks says.

In the ninth grade he traded school for the streets.

"Drugs, selling drugs, drinking alcohol," he says.

Now works to keep kids off the corner where he used to spend every day.

Like Kirk Patrick.

Patrick used to be in a school for troubled children.

Banks became his mentor and helped him turn his life around.

Patrick graduated Royal Palm Beach High school at 16. He just started his freshman year a Florida A&M University.

"Most of the stuff that we are going through he's already been through," Patrick says.
"You let them know, 'hey man I'm here for you,' whether it's financial, whether it's educational, whether it's just personal or whatever, then they open up, they'll tend to you'll see a change in these kids," Banks says.

Banks says the Prince Theater can be the place where that change happens.

A relic he is turning into a place of refuge.

Banks is accepting applications for kids to become part of his program. 

For more information on Balanced Living Mentorship click here: