A different graduation

Because it takes two to tango, this time the mental dance was with the men.

Preventing teen pregnancy took a different route recently. In the past, teen pregnancy prevention has been aimed at teen and pre-teen girls. This time, area teen boys were the focus.

Lavett Foust with Axis 1 said "Wise Guys" was a program created through a grant received from South Carolina campaign to prevent teen pregnancy.

The program targeted young men, discussing with them the choices they make and the consequences of them, Foust said.

The curriculum consisted of 10 sessions and the boys were chosen out of two groups. Fifteen students were chosen through the S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice as a part of their probation.

The second group was already participating in an all-male health class at Blackville-Hilda High School.

Foust said the program encouraged the young men to make better decisions, set goals for their lives and not become teen parents and or part of the domestic violence problem.

One of the major discussions was, "What role do you play in your community?" Foust said.

On May 27, these young men graduated from the "Wise Guys" program. The Axis 1 center of Barnwell held a graduation ceremony complete with a unique dinner.

The dinner was prepared by Chef Anthony Williams of Verzatile Catering Services. Williams is a former Barnwell resident and spent 20 years in the military. He now runs the catering service as well as a youth organization.

"This was my dream. To come back home and do this," Williams said.

He said he wants to teach youth to "do the right thing."

"I'm here to save lives," Williams said. "There are no excuses."