Keeping up with Quintez: Getting coached

Quintez works picking up trash in Tarkington Park.

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Donnell Hamilton is one of the people behind the summer jobs program. He's worked with kids for many years. I met him last fall when I did a couple stories on the Indy Steelers, a youth football team that Donnell coaches.

The team suffered a big loss when one of their players was killed in a drive-by shooting. Deshaun Swanson was just 10 years old. He and his family were gathered at his grandmother's house to grieve her passing when someone in a car opened fire on the crowd, striking Deshaun in the stomach.

It happened just a few blocks from Tarkington Park, where the Steelers practice and where Quintez now goes each morning to pick up trash as part of his job.

Hamilton believes the program is about saving young lives by teaching them responsibility and convincing them they have choices.

"A lot of them come from single-parent homes. There's not a lot of income...there's crime and poverty," he said. "A lot of them have never worked before...they don't have a lot of structure when it's just a mother raising them, so they don't take on a lot of male responsibility."

At the same time, he said, "they're begging for structure, begging for work. They want to do the right thing, they just haven't been shown what to do."

Hamilton said learning to be on time and how to work together are two of the biggest he's trying to teach them.

When I asked about Quintez in particular, he said, "he's a great kid, full of energy...he's a real people person, a leader...You ask him once and he jumps up."

But Hamilton said it's hard. There are so many are things competing for the teens' attention. Quintez' mom knows that well. We've talked several times. She told me she's very proud of her son, but worries too, and hopes he continues to make the right decision.

I'll share her story tomorrow.

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