Andrew Harmon


 

 

FedUP-4U

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 to. 

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. 

The 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 please visit www.fedup4uu.com.


 

 

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