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Learning Important Life Lessons

"Everything I learned at Ames Teen Group made me who I am today." - Erick Regis

Erick Regis has big plans for his future.  With high school graduation only months away, Erick has managed to navigate through the turbulent teen years.  Much of his success he attributes to Ames Teen Group, an after-school program for 6th-12th graders at Ames Lake Neighborhood on St. Paul's Eastside.

When Erick began attending, he wasn't sure exactly what it was all about, but he quickly found an environment that was welcoming and non-judgmental thanks to Lisa Crocker, the Ames Teen Group Leader.  "Lisa was great!  We drove her crazy, but she knew how to handle us.  She was always positive, encouraging and willing to listen" Erick remembers.

Erick admits there were things he learned at Ames Teen Group he didn't think were important at the time, like how to fill out a job application, how to apply for college, what a healthy relationship looks like, and how to show respect to adults.  He quickly discovered those lessons came in handy, especially when he applied for his first job and for college.  But, the most important lesson he will take with him is this: There are many different kinds of people in this world.  You may not like all of them.  If you're put in a situation where you have to work or live with them, you have to stick it out, do your best and then go your own way.  "Lisa taught me that.  It's been the most powerful advice I've ever gotten and I've relied on it many times to get me through" beams Erick.

So how did Erick managed to make it through the teen years relatively unscathed?  A lot of it has to do with the lessons he learned attending Ames Teen Group.  Erick explains, "I survived the teen years because I had the information."  When his friends were getting into cigarettes and partying, the knowledge he gained through Ames Teen Group helped him to make better choices.  Even when some of his friends began joining gangs, Erick chose to attend Ames Teen Group.  "I really think if my friends would have come with me, they would not have joined gangs." reflects Erick.

When Erick isn't working hard to finish his senior year of high school or at his part-time job at McDonalds, you can find him skateboarding with his friends.  He is eagerly awaiting word of acceptance into an auto mechanic school in Illinois.

Ames Teen Group will always hold a special place in Erick's heart.  "I grew up here as a person.  My sisters and brother come here and I love seeing them enjoy it and feel comfortable" states Erick.

When asked where he sees himself in 10 years, Erick responds, "I hope I'm working at a job I love, still skateboarding, maybe have a girlfriend or wife and stopping by to visit Lisa and the Ames Teen Group, of course."

Resident Services Calendars

When residents know one other, everyone benefits. They begin to take ownership in their community and crime decreases. That is why Opportunity Neighborhood provides a wide variety of community events to residents. Whether it's holiday parties, neighborhood barbeques or movie nights.  These events provide a format for residents to meet one other and build community.

What community events are happening this month? Take a look at this month's newsletter and calendar. 

Ames Lake Neighborhood

Garden View Apartments

University Dale Apartments