ROXBURY (CBS) – Jordan Young of Roxbury has seen friends and peers get into trouble with idle time.
“Some kids get killed, some kids go to jail, there’s lots of different things that can happen if you’re not involved in anything,” he told WBZ-TV.
Many of the teens in his neighborhood are at risk, but thanks to a charity called The Fishing Academy, some of them can get off the streets and onto the water for the first time.
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The Fishing Academy is a non-profit group run by John Hoffman that takes kids from Boston’s poorest neighborhoods fishing for free.
Hoffman, who has been running the charity for eleven years, said that in addition to learning how to bait a hook and reel in flounder, the kids learn “teamwork, patience, discipline, respect and self-confidence,” skills they can use the rest of their lives.
The Fishing Academy not only takes kids out on Boston Harbor, they often fish on Cape Cod and in some of the fresh water rivers throughout Massachusetts.
Ramsey, a 12-year old who just learned to fish, said “it’s really fun cause you’re not in the city anymore, it’s a different feeling.”
We also met Al Smith and his daughter Serena.
Al is a lifelong friend of Hoffman’s. He runs the Vine Street Community Center in Roxbury.
Both Al and Serena have been on many fishing trips with Hoffman.
Smith said he’s seen troubled kids totally change their attitude after being out in the water, away from the city.
“I see different side of kids that I don’t see here. When you get onto the harbor into that boat all you do is hear laughter and smell the fresh air,” he told WBZ.
“You know that old saying?” he said. “Give a man a fish feed him for a day, teach a man how to fish, feed him for a lifetime.”
For more information about The Fishing Academy, visit their website.