MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Teenager Stephen Kelly would like nothing more than to whip his mentor Elvis Caines in basketball.
“It started maybe three or four years ago at St. Thomas University when we played our first basketball game together,” said the 14-year-old. “He beat me by like three points.”
“He played against me, telling me that he was going to beat me and that’s where we actually broke the ice,” Caines recalled.
Their basketball rivalry is just the backdrop for a budding relationship and a bigger purpose. Caines is now Kelly’s big brother. They met when Kelly was 9-years-old and headed for trouble.
“At that time in my life, I was just a troublemaker that had no ambition to do anything better,” said Kelly.
Caines connected with Kelly by calling on some of his experience mentoring other kids and by learning more about juvenile justice.
“When I was in grad school, I studied criminal justice and the legislatures were looking at over-presentation of minorites in the criminal justice center,” said Caines. “So two of my professers at FAU asked me to be a part of that study. When I saw the topic I said, ‘Oh, this good and I did my research and I got involved.”
Now with Caines’ guidance, Kelly is a young man on a mission. His grades improved and Kelly took home a number of awards at his 8th grade graduation. When it comes to his future, he’s got a plan.
“I want to work for the FBI or the CIA because I have a passion for protecting people,” Kelly said.
His dream might have gotten a boost from the Carnival Foundation, which has already awarded him a scholarship.
And Kelly’s still working his goal of winning this battle on the basketball court, but off of it, he belives that a big brother like Caines is hard to beat.
“I wish more men would be like him. Step up and help out the community and mentor someone like me.”