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Life-changing program for Tyler students, first in state

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TYLER (KYTX) - Tyler is the first city in the entire state of Texas to hold an Ambassadors of Compassion event.


It's a leadership program catching popularity with schools and celebrities all over the United States.

Students from Robert E. Lee, John Tyler and four other local high schools got a celebrity welcome Thursday at a kick-off event for the life-changing 12 week program.

It's a program that brings relief to the broken, hope to the doubtful, and attention to the forgotten.

People all over the country and right here in East Texas, are becoming Ambassadors of Compassion, making a promise to lift our nation's youth up.

1,000 East Texas students were welcomed to Green Acres Baptist Church Thursday like kings and queens. They were greeted by their supporters, mentors, and their heroes, like Noel G.

You might know Noel from movies like "The Fast and the Furious" or "Training Day," but before the success, there was struggle.

"My parents left me when I was 13 years old so I was homeless. So I didn't really have a lot of opportunity in life. I was gang banging, I was in the streets," Noel says.

Then one day, something very small made the biggest difference.

"I was in an acting class and one guy just believed in me," he says.

He's now been to five Ambassador of Compassion events around the country, talking to kids who need someone to believe in them.

"I want them to know that they're valuable, that they have a purpose in life, that they can do something with themselves," Noel says.

His message resonated in Robert E. Lee sophomore Dalelasha Rollins, who calls the program humbling.

"I want to go to college. That's something I want to do. I want to become more than a statistic," Rollins says.

She says hearing Ambassadors of Compassion stories makes her want to beat the odds.

"I'm fine with being different. Like that girl with Down's Syndrome. 

She's talking about Lauren Potter from the hit TV show Glee. In a Ambassadors of Compassion speech, Potter tells the crowd, "In the hallway, boys used to walk behind me and call me 'retard.'"

"I was just like that," Rollins says. "I was made fun of, and talked about because I'm little and I'm not like everybody else. Just something that's different, being able to be comfortable in your own skin."

"We can all have each other's back!" Potter yells.

Hundreds of local kids, now ready to make goals, dream big, and not only have each others backs, but most importantly their own.

500 of those students have already signed up to complete the 12-week leadership program with local mentors helping them along the way.  At the end, they will get to call themselves Ambassadors of Compassion.

For more on the program, click here. 



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