Marcus Moore Jr. became involved in Dubuque’s Fountain of Youth program because of his mother.
“Moms want to keep you on the right track,” said Moore, 16, of Dubuque.
On Sunday, Moore and his mom were among four participants recognized for their success in accomplishing individual goals by the nonprofit organization that uses mentoring and support groups to help reduce generational poverty. The program is open to individuals age 16 and older.
“I wanted my son to be a part of it, and I became a co-facilitator (of a group),” said Moore’s mom, Deanna Roberson, 37, of Dubuque.
Roberson helps facilitate a group that meets on Wednesday nights at Fountain of Youth, 1497 Central Ave.
“It’s called the Real Talk Group,” she said. “We talk about real-life issues and overcoming change.”
Roberson said her work with the group has given her a way to help other people.
“I enjoy giving back and helping in any way I can,” she said.
Caprice Jones, the program’s founder and director, said Sunday’s celebration event recognized participants who had accomplished goals set within individual success plans they had created.
“One of the goals could be knowledge of yourself and others,” Jones said. “So, they’ll learn how to journal to discover themselves and how to treat others by examining their behaviors. Or, they will have a goal of financial literacy, where they can build their credit or begin to make investments or they can learn how to balance a checkbook or set a budget. Citizenship is another goal.”
Jasmine Barnes and Alassane Doukoure were the other participants recognized.
Moore said Fountain of Youth’s work “has helped me stay more organized” and focused on his future.
The Dubuque Senior High School student is considering a future in athletics.
“If that doesn’t work out, my plan B is to be an electronics engineer,” he said. “Fountain of Youth helps me progress.”
Roberson said the program has helped her son “become an example for other young men.”
Founded in the summer of 2016, Fountain of Youth launched its programming in early 2017.
Last year, the program served 280 individuals in support groups, according to the program’s annual report.
“People have overcome unemployment and maintained a job, and individuals have completed college,” Jones said.
Michelle Becwar, a member of the group’s board of directors, said Fountain of Youth meets a need within the community in a unique way.
“I like the approach: The individual drives what the plan looks like,” Becwar said. “It’s applicable to them — it’s not a cookie-cutter approach.”
Moore recommends Fountain of Youth to other young people.
“If you want to stay on the right path, it tightens things up,” he said.