Young men from Atlanta spend spring break inspiring CPS boys

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A group of young men from Atlanta bypassed the party scene this year, and used their spring break to help bring positive change to Chicago.

The Hope Dealers, a group of Morehouse College students, spent their vacation meeting with young men on Chicago's South and West sides.

"We are their hope so that is something," said Je'lon Alexander, a Morehouse Hope Dealer. "We are making a difference."

Corey Hardiman, the founder of Hope Dealers and a Morehouse alumnus, saw positive role models missing for him and other young men of color when he was a student at Corliss High School in Chicago.

Hardiman also began the Young Men of Color Summit in 2008 for Chicago Public School students.

The Hope Dealers ended their week in Chicago at the Summit on Friday with 500 male CPS students. They shared their experiences and offered suggestions to guide the students to colleges and careers.

"There's a lot of young men that need hope. A lot of them need for someone to say, 'I care,'" Hardiman said.

Leaving Chicago, the Morehouse men said they have a better understanding of the needs in Chicago, but also leave enriched by the hopefulness they found despite challenges.

"We are learning how important it is to build relationships with people," said Trevon Hill, a Hope Dealer. "It's much better when we are doing it together."

For now Chicago is the only destination for the Hope Dealers, but Hardiman plans to bring hope to young men in other cities next spring break.
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