YONKERS, N.Y. -- Phillip Foster of Leake and Watts will be honored for his commitment to counseling teens at the New York Nonprofit Media's inaugural Front-Line Heroes awards ceremony on April 26.
“Youth in our NSP program can tell that this is more than just a job for Foster,” says Lisa Crook, director of Juvenile Justice Programs at Leake and Watts. “What Foster gives to them, they take with them, and it’s his voice they hear and his example they remember after they leave.”
Foster, a Mount Vernon native, is one of 25 honorees. He was chosen by New York Nonprofit Media for being known as the "real deal" and his ability to connect with the kids he counsels.
“The roots of behavior with these kids go back to the challenges they face at home and on the streets,”said Foster. “I also encountered many of the same challenges as a teen, so when I talk to these kids, they know that I’ve lived it, too.”
Foster is a father with two sons ages 3 and 5 and is studying to earn his bachelor's degree as a human services professional.
“He’s been through some of the things I’ve been through, and you can really sit down and talk to him, and he’ll tell you if you’re right or going in the wrong direction,” said Joe, a 16 year-old in the program. “He’ll really let you know; he’s just that guy.”
Leake and Watts' Non-Secure Placement program provides a safe, structured environment for adjudicated young men from 12 to 17.
Counselors supervise teens in the program as they attend school, participate in recreational activities and receive individual, family and group counseling. Staff emphasize positive peer relationships and a supportive community for all participants using the Missouri Model.