• Jacksonville students start movement of hope for at-risk youth

    By: Bridgette Matter , Action News Jax


    Robert E. Lee High School students are trying make a difference in our community.

    Fifteen boys who are part of what is called the EVAC movement, recently met with State Attorney Melissa Nelson.

    They started the EVAC movement, which stands for Evacuating the Cave of Hopelessness, as a way to help kids go from being at-risk to at-hope.

    Bernard Thomas, a senior student, is getting ready to go to college in the fall. “People just don’t understand each other at the end of the day everyone has a story,” he said.

    The boys are opening up about hardships, some dealing with parents in jail, pressure from the streets, even losing friends to gun violence here in Jacksonville.

    Davion Brown has experienced pressures firsthand. "I grew up rough. Growing up rough doesn’t mean you have to be that statistic,” he said.

    The teacher behind EVAC is Amy Donofrio, who said she never knew how much some of these kids were going through.

    Billy Luper and a classmate started the Harvard KIND Schools campaign "Your Story Is Mine."

    Alan McCullough said he and the others in the group don’t let their bad situations define who they are, and say you shouldn’t either. “Your circumstances might be the same but your outcome can be different,” he said.

    To learn more about students in the Harvard Campaign and ways to support, visit their official Facebook page.


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