Approaching 19 and a half years at Project Uplift, Chris Nunn, program coordinator still has the same passion he did the day he started.
“Almost daily we are hearing back from kids who have been apart of our program who have now enrolled in college," Nunn said. "Some that I remember from 19 years ago that have graduated college and have families of their own."
After graduating from Auburn University, Nunn started working for the Lee County Youth Development Center. He then became a probation officer before the Program Coordinator position at Project Uplift became available.
Project Uplift was founded in 1973. Their goal, both then and now, was to help children stay out of the juvenile system and keep them on the right path. Project Uplift hopes to provide the best leadership to children growing up in difficult circumstances.
“Our objective is to help kids be successful within their communities, within their families and within themselves,” Nunn said.
Not only does Project Uplift have an impact on the lives of the children they help, but it also affects the mentors and creates life long connections.
“We are often having student graduates come back to the area they have gone, and they still have contact with their mentees throughout the time they have been away. Some of them are involving their kids in their weddings,” Nunn said.
They try and get involved with the children at a young age to help and steer them in the right direction. Children may start at 5 years old and begin to phase them out around age 12. An older kid can stay in the program as long as their mentor is still in school.
Only a few kids in the decades they have been doing the program have ever entered the juvenile judicial system.
According to the mission statement on their website, “Project Uplift is an agency whose main goal is to help children develop constructive, happy lives so that the delinquency rate in our county will decrease.”
Project Uplift offers a welcoming environment to all kids in their community.
“We want kids to feel good about who they are despite their circumstances,” Nunn said.
Some of their children go on to serve in the armed forces, and many go on to make an impact in their communities down the road.
They continue to work hard to influence as many lives as they can. The majority of student involvement is volunteer based. Anyone is allowed to volunteer.
Getting involved is “easy as pie," Nunn said. All volunteers have to do is visit their website, look at their calendar and attend a training session.
Theses sessions are held in Cary Hall auditorium Room 158. They begin at 4 p.m. during the week and 3 p.m. on Sundays.
A training session last between 3-4 hours.