Steve Barnett: Coach, Mentor & Advocate for Kids

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Andrea Tarr

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This episode takes us to Harlem to meet Steve Barnett, who works at Leake & Watts, an alternative school for troubled youth. Most of the kids end up there for behavioral issues, and at some point come in contact with Steve. He has the task of dealing with kids in crisis mode. This is not an easy job, but helping others comes naturally for Steve who bubbled over with enthusiasm as he described his program for kids involving sports and education. Actually the Atlantic City hotel hot tub in which Steve was soaking bubbled over. Then I came along and, let’s say, you can learn plenty about someone while you’re in a hot tub.

In 1992, Steve was coaching basketball at the Jackie Robinson Rec Center in Harlem. His natural abilities and easy demeanor attracted legions of kids looking to get off the streets. Steve realized education was the key factor in changing the lives of the kids and put his knowledge and determination to work in securing scholarships for kids who demonstrated their talents on the basketball court. He got his first group of kids scholarships to Storm King School in Cornwall, NY. And he did this on his dime – no help from outside agencies! The program grew as the need grew, and Steve cultivated connections with coaches in recreational programs, prep schools, and colleges. With his coaching, mentoring, and advocating skills, Steve has changed lives by getting kids placed in prep schools and colleges on  full scholarships. Steve’s personal challenge to help kids has turned into a non-profit called Harlem Miracles. His kids have received scholarships from U of Connecticut, Brown University, Wagner College and Florida State Univ. Why does Steve work to help kids?  Listen to the interview!. After the interview, please check out After Hours at Jersey Coastal Live for additional information.

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