SALEM, Ohio (WKBN) – Some kids just need someone to listen to them. They might be going through tough times at home, whether due to poverty or parents abusing drugs.
The goal of Scott Lewis’ new non-profit organization, The Brightside Project, is to help those kids that just need somebody else in their life. The organization works with schools, the Children’s Coalition and other organizations to determine what children need food assistance, personal care items and an adult mentor.
Lewis has been working with non-profit organizations for 12 years. He said the moment he realized they needed to do something bigger was back in May.
That’s when three adults were arrested after police said they found a methamphetamine lab in their Sebring home in which two young children were also living.
“I just can’t imagine. I just can’t event imagine that happening, and these kids don’t have anybody to talk to,” Lewis said.
According to The Brightside Project, 27 percent of children under the age of 18 live in poverty in Columbiana County. One in five children in Ohio suffer from hunger, and 9,715 children in Columbiana County are receiving food assistance.
Lewis’ daughter, Lisa Wallace, is a teacher and said she sees too many of her students affected by difficult home lives, and teachers can’t always help.
“We know that teachers want to and they have a heart to, but their resources are limited, so with the Brightside, we’re going to be able to step in,” she said.
Last week, the organization held its first giveaway in Salem. Volunteers set up their trucks and met with families in the area, giving away helpful and fun items to kids in need. They hope to be able to travel to more schools and locations by the end of the year.
“Our goal and our vision is to get a mobile unit that goes in, and they come out through permission slips from their parents or referrals from the schools, but these kids need help, and that’s what we want to do,” Lewis said.
Currently, The Brightside Project is working to raise $100,000 by December 1 to purchase that mobile unit and for administrative startup costs.
For more information on the organization and how you can help, visit www.brightsideprojectohio.org.