INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Community activist Amp Harris, actor and comedian Mike Epps and Indiana Pacers star player Myles Turner have united to uplift teens at Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) through a series of new forums called “Making the Right Play in Life.”
Students packed out the school auditorium as the program launched Thursday, Sept. 26 at 1 p.m. at Shortridge High School.
The goal of the program is to inspire teens through a panel discussion and interactions on a variety of topics, including good decision-making, positive self-image and the importance of getting an education.
“It’s something that is mandatory for our children to do is make the right play,” Epps said. “I come back to Indianapolis all the time. I try to be an example for these kids to let them know that I once was there not making the right play before. Now that I’ve grown up and I see what kind of effect I can have on helping these kids I’m all for making the right play.”
The panel featured professional athletes, actors, community leaders, business owners and young adults who will share their personal stories of overcoming challenges to achieve success.
After each presentation, students will have the opportunity to ask questions and get advice from the speakers.
Harris, also an Indianapolis native, says he grew up five minutes away from Shortridge and talked about what the surprise and the program could do for the students.
“[It’s] something that these kids will never forget because growing up in the inner city it’s very seldom that you’re able to get a Mike Epps, a Myles Turner and an Amp Harris to be able to come together to do something like this,” Harris said.
“It says a lot about what IPS is doing to try to do non-conventional things to be able to reach our kids because today you have to reach them where they are,” said Harris.
“As a product of IPS, to be part of this program means a lot to me,” said Epps. “To be able to come back home and inspire kids that you can achieve anything in life if you apply yourself is extremely rewarding. Our goal is to give these students a little hope to push harder and be smarter.”
“We know the impact of positive role models and are grateful to Harris for reaching out to IPS to launch this new program,” said Aleesia Johnson, IPS superintendent.
Organizers plan to take the program from Shortridge to other IPS schools.