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York County man's mentorship program aims to inspire young men

The Advantage Program of York is a youth mentorship program, geared towards exposing middle and high school students to different opportunities.

YORK COUNTY, Pa. — The Advantage Program of York is a youth mentorship program, geared towards exposing middle and high school students to different life opportunities. 

"We started two years ago [in] 2020, we started with 12 kids and quickly, we grew to over 60 kids in our second year. That's something you can never plan for, but it goes to our proof of concept," said Tavon Parker, the CEO and founder of The Advantage Program. 

He started the program to, as the name suggests, give young community members an advantage. 

"I was incarcerated. After I was released back into society in April 2017. I started my lawn care business with an entrepreneurial spirit. Two years after I was released, my brother got shot and [was] killed," Parker told FOX43. 

According to Parker, the tragedy opened his eyes. 

"One conversation I remember having was how blessed my other brother and I were that my mom put us in basketball camp, he didn't get those opportunities," he said. 

Today, Parker aims to be a positive influence on the lives of young men in the community and keep them out of the justice system. 

"If we know that 14 to 21-year-olds are committing 51% of the crimes, statistics are also showing that they are starting younger and younger," he said. 

Parker believes that the younger he can reach members of the community, the more influence and impact he can have on their lives. 

"We're going to give them an advantage to their life as they get older and when they start recognizing who and what they want to be and how they want to contribute to this world," said Parker. 

"It feels good to know that I got somebody that wants me to succeed in my future," said member Nicholas Lozano. 

Parker stresses the importance of movement, teaching his students that the world is so much bigger than just York. 

"My biggest hope and goal for the young men in the Advantage Program is to realize that their life is their responsibility. Regardless [of whether] you go to college, go to a trade school, the military, or start a business. My only ask is that they contribute positively," he told FOX43. 

His favorite part of the program?

"Watching the young men grow is something that is really one of my... I don't want to say achievements, but it's something I really do hold my hat on." 

Once per month, the advantage program aims to expose the students in the program to an event or venue outside of York County. This Saturday, the group is headed to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. for Black History Month. 

Parker says the group is always looking for volunteers to help mentor. For more information on how to help, click here.


Download the FOX43 app here. 

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