James Cooper is FedUp-4U with gangs and violence in our
communities and he is taking action.
FedUp-4U is a non-profit organization that was founded in
2009 with the mission to reach the youth and steer them away
from drugs, gangs, bullying, teen pregnancy, and any of the
other forms of negativity that are running rampant in our
streets. FedUp-4U’s core service consists of conducting
school assemblies that are informative, relatable, and
engaging. Agenda items for the assemblies are comprised of
motivational speaking from mentors, motivational speaking
from local athletes and/or politicians, and musical
performances that are always a sure fire way to keep the
children engaged. The success of the assemblies can be
attributed to the fact that FedUp-4U purposely employs
individuals whom the youth look up to and are able to relate
FedUp-4U’s founder, Mr. James Cooper, is a reformed drug
kingpin who was overwhelmed by the amount of gangs and
violence in his hometown when he returned home from prison.
Having been part of the drug game in the past, he felt that
he was in a unique position to be able to reach at-risk
youth and help them turn their lives around.
FedUp-4U’s pilot program was offered to children as young as
six years of age and as old as nineteen years of age. The
8-week program provided free transportation, free healthy
meals, and core lifestyle classes. The children were
encouraged to really get engaged in the program by being
appointed junior and senior mentors when warranted, being
rewarded with recognition, and by having a daily circle of
friends and prayer engrained into their daily activities.
Once the children finished all of the program’s required
curriculum for the day they were then permitted recreation
time in the large gymnasium.
first FedUp-4U graduation class began with 75 children and
ended with 77 graduates. The following year 350 children
applied, but due to limited funding the program was only
able to accept 225 participants.
Currently, FedUp-4U is focusing on reaching the youth by
hosting assemblies in public and private schools across the
nation. With his background, Cooper is the main
motivational speaker on the roster but is supported by
others. FedUp-4U has also successfully partnered with the
Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America and the Boys and
Girls Clubs of America for outreach programs in the past.
In a typical year FedUp-4U hosts about 75 assemblies per
year in various schools across the nation.
The importance of the availability of
quality programs like FedUp-4U for our youth is at an
all-time high. Statistics from The National Education
Association show that one in three American children in
grades six through ten are affected by bullying. Students
who are targets of repeated bullying have a fear of going to
school and engaging in ordinary activities like using the
restroom and riding the school bus. The American Justice
Department reports that only 58% of children actually notify
an adult after they have become a victim of bullying. Some
of these unreported instances of bullying lead to serious
issues such as violence, depression, and even suicide.
Bullying not only has a negative effect on the victims but
it has a negative effect on the perpetrators as well.
Bullies are in a high risk category for criminal
convictions. Boys identified as bullies in grades six
through nine had at least one criminal conviction by age
24. Forty percent of those identified had three or more
arrests by age 30. Shockingly, bullies are at even greater
risk of suicide than their targets and bullies often grow up
to perpetuate family violence.
In addition to the startling bullying
statistics mentioned, there are countless others relating to
drugs, gangs, and teen pregnancy that are mind boggling.
The National Institute of Drug Abuse reports that 34% of
students in grades 8 through 9 have tried drugs at least
once. The National Gang Center reports that approximately
35% of gangs are made up of youth that are age 18 or under
and the CDC reports that three out of ten girls in the
United States get pregnant at least once by age 20.
The evidence clearly shows that our
schools are in a state of chaos. In today’s society it
seems as though the news is filled with stories detailing
the latest school shootings, teen violence/crime, teen
pregnancy, etc. In addition, television shows like “Teen
Mom” and “The Bad Girls Club” are growing in popularity and
the do not give our children a realistic picture of the type
of people they should strive to be. We need to get out in
front of our children so that they are not led astray.
Investing in programs like FedUp-4U is an innovative way to
fight back and help our children in the troubling times that
we live in.
FedUp-4U’s approach is a new and
innovative way to reach out to our youth that has proven to
be effective and is gaining popularity at a rapid pace.
FedUp-4U is currently on a 100 school tour that runs from
September 2013 – June 2014. For details on how to get
FedUp-4U out to your school or sponsorship opportunities