Our Opinion: HALO boys program a welcome addition

We believe HALO's new after-school home for boys will make a positive difference in the lives of at-risk children.

As we reported Sunday, the program will share similarities to the existing home for girls. Boys will be expected to attend family-style dinners and to complete assignments or chores.

The program will welcome high school boys, who will arrive at the home after school, probably around 3 p.m., and remain until up to 9 p.m.

Mentoring, tutoring and other activities will give the boys chances to bond with adults during a time period in which they might otherwise be at risk.

"They will come here and get a warm meal, and we'll create kind of a family atmosphere," HALO founder Rebecca Welsh said.

HALO is an acronym that stands for Helping Art Liberate Orphans. It's a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports homeless and at-risk children. It has branches in Jefferson City; Kansas City; New York City; and Portland, Oregon, but reaches around the world. Teachers and coaches tell HALO staff there are boys who don't have a stable, safe place to go at night, Welsh said.

HALO tapped Darian Pruitt to manage the program - an excellent choice. For years, Pruitt has been a positive role model for children in the youth ministry at Capital City Christian Church, as well as the church's daycare program. He's a kind soul, and a calming influence who leads by example.

Other mentors and volunteers are being recruited.

"It's important for boys to have that model behavior so they can make a big change in their lives," Pruitt said. "We have volunteers and mentors in every field. The last meeting that we had, we had people who do construction, people who work in schools, credit card processing and police officers."

If you would like to be involved in the program, email Pruitt at [email protected].

News Tribune