TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A group of East Texas kids is getting extra support in fighting peer pressure and staying true to their faith. Becoming Righteous Obedient Servants (B.R.O.S.) Mentoring is teaching young people how to create their own path to success.
Young people are learning they won't face life's challenges alone. Saturday, the Be A Man, Bring A Boy Youth Empowerment Summit at Southern Oaks Baptist Church in Tyler brought together adults and kids to talk about the world around them.
Reverend Byron Wesley founded the ministry in 2011, aiming to provide a hands-on approach to influencing children.
"To move forward in life, basically empowering them to be good stewards, be righteous, obedient servants and of course, be good Christian people."
He says he created B.R.O.S. while serving time in jail, where he says he learned about obedience to God's plan.
"God's love is never ending. There's long suffering. He will never leave nor forsake you. Love is not boastful. Love is kind. Love is gentle. Love is a multitude of things."
With kids facing the pressures of bullying, drugs, sex, and self-esteem issues, their parents and relatives have support in building a foundation in faith.
Wesley's wife Tawanna is concerned about children may become resentful of their situation.
"And knowing that's not your path. You know, things happen to you, but that's not God doing that to you. And it's important as a kid to learn that."
Young children, teenagers, and college students rely on guidance from mentors, who are their parents, ministers, family members, or concerned members of the community.
Alfredo Salvatore, a chaplain at Bradshaw State Jail in Anderson County, supported Wesley's spiritual needs while he was incarcerated.
He's now involved with the empowerment summit and hopes young people will be moved by the Holy Spirit.
"If you believe in yourself, you are able to make changes. You are able to empower people around you."
These role models are reaching impressionable youth from all walks of life, including those from single-parent families and those affected by incarceration.
Both motivational and uplifting, each testimony aims to inspire youth and adults. 11-year-old Elijah Escobar is eager to share what he's learned.
"God is (in) heaven and he's trying to bring it to Earth, but he can't. Earth and heaven just can't be (one) because Earth is ugliness and sin and hate. And that's why Jesus came, so he could get on the Earth and spread little pockets of heaven."
Escobar is open about his relationship with Christ.
"Move your mind toward God. And when you're praising God, don't just praise him, rejoice in him. Be happy that you're there. Be happy that you're actually getting to praise with him."
Others, like Cadynce Wilborne, are already accepting wisdom and support from this community of faith.
"Listen to their parents, find a good future, and get on a path to God."
Wesley says this program is molding young believers through the power of prayer.
"God has told us to love one another as we love ourselves. And so that's the great commandment."
Participants heard from ministers and mentors on topics such as higher education information and applications, relationships, self-esteem, stress management, conflict, bullying intervention and prevention, sexual assault, domestic violence, and lifestyle changes.