A Family Turns Tragedy Into Positivity

It's been seven years for one metro mother, but the pain of losing a child never fades.

"Even now I still can't accept that he is gone, but he is, he's gone," sobs Patricia Golden.

Golden shares the pain with her cousin Pernoral Banister Wiley.

Golden lost her son Tyrone Banister in 2007 and Wiley lost her son Kentril Banister in 2010.

Both young men were killed in drive by shootings.

"To bury a child is the hardest thing in the world. When they killed Kentril, they killed me," said Golden.

But members of the Banister family took these tragedies and turned them into something positive. Akile and Jennifer Banister started the Banister's Leadership Academy.

It's a program for kids ages 5 to 19 years old., and it's all about learning leadership and becoming a strong individual.

Along with learning positive values like respect, the kids are in an environment where they can freely talk about the hardships and the realities they face, like gangs, peer pressure and violence.

“A lot of our staff has been through those different situations that came through it. So it is more of just repetition of saying you can do this, of being positive, and not always harping on small things, showing them a different way, a different approach," said Akile Banister, CEO and President.

For Wiley, this program does more than just memorialize her son, it also is an outlet for her younger children.

"My sons are in his program, and I see a difference, I see a difference in them," said Wiley.

The program is helping over 100 kids in the community.

"It take a village to raise a child, and everyone needs to take part," said Golden.

To learn more about the Banister's Leadership Academy click the link below.

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