By Lauren Pastrana

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Mentoring is all about helping kids and young adults get on the right track to success and one program in Opa-locka is aimed at making sure children are always “upward bound”.

From learning their letters to piecing together puzzles, the kids at camp Teen Upward Bound are part of the organization’s mission to “turn interest into action”.

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And they’re active all right, even getting in a work out between lessons.

Counselors Tyra Crenshaw and Daryle Rhodes are right there with them.

“I try to show them that you could use that energy, you use to be disobedient, and put it somewhere else,” said counselor Daryle Rhodes. “You could put it in something you like.”

Daryle isn’t just a counselor at Teen Upward Bound, she’s a former camper who joined the program when she was eight years old.

Tyra joined when she was just six, she’s now 18.

“It’s like home for me,” Tyra said. “I know everybody so it’s easy to communicate, easy to come in and just be helpful.”

Both young ladies felt it was important to give back to the organization that helped them in their formative years.

“They helped me shape myself, basically, growing up,” Tyra said. “They knew me, so they were able to teach me and help me grow as a young lady.”

“You have to give back because I knew myself at this age. I’m a person that knows from experience and also, I mean I made it pretty far to be 21, so if I could be that one person that comes and shows them that I can make a difference, I’ll be that one person,” Daryle added.

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Jannie and Calvin Russell founded Teen Upward Bound almost twenty years ago with the goal of building strong families and educating our youth to reach their highest potential through mentoring, counseling and community support.

“We just try to, as much as we can, to provide a wide array of services so that the children in the community and the surrounding communities could feel a part of what we got going on,” Jannie Russell said.

“They’re like parental figures and auntie figures, all of it, just all of it. All into one,” Tyra said of the Russells. “They’re just a big family and they’re very sweet, they’re just nice people.

That’s a feeling the counselors are passing down to the next generation of campers.

“They make me feel like family because we help each other out, they’re kind of funny. When they’re around you, they make you feel relaxing like you can just, you’re kind of chill,” said camper Treyvion Viel.

Teen Upward Bound is made possible thanks to funding from organizations like The Children’s Trust.

The program is always looking for volunteers.

Click here if you’d like more information on how you can help.

If you are a mentor and would like to share your story with us, please email us at

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Lauren Pastrana