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Retired firefighter teaches problem-solving skills to Indy-area kids

Retired Indy firefighter teaches problem-solving skills

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A retired Indianapolis firefighter is igniting leadership in Indianapolis. He created an organization to teach problem-solving skills to as many kids as possible.

In 1992, Anthony Williamson co-founded a youth leadership and development program named after Saint Florian, the patron saint of firefighters.

The Saint Florian Center began as a summer camp and evolved into a year-round youth program. Their motto is “to foster leadership opportunity and respect in all neighborhoods.”

“They have to be able to think about what they do before they act and then they can go and respond in an appropriate way. So many times our kids get into trouble because somebody steps on their shoes or they call them out of their name and they just respond and react and we don’t want them to react,” Williamson explained to News 8’s Brittany Noble.

The center now offers a variety of programs including youth employment training, college prep, Readers are Leaders, and Rites of Passage.

“We were contacted by (a school) principal because they had some young people, specifically boys, that seemed to not understand community, not understand how to remain focused on their classwork and not be disruptive in the classroom, therefore, they were sent to the office on multiple occasions. So they were looking for ways on how to empower young people to understand why education is so important,” Williamson said.

The Saint Florian Center thrives on volunteers to expand their reach. So far, Williamson says he’s worked with more than 30,000 kids but he hopes he can reach more children.

Kids enrolled in a Saint Florian Center youth program watch a guest speaker talk about safe web browsing practices. (Provided Photo/Saint Florian Center)