'Save Our Sons' program providing job training in North County - KMOV.com

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'Save Our Sons' program providing job training in North County

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NORTH ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOV.com) -

A young St. Louis County man said a choice he made four months ago changed the course of his life. William Ruffin, 21, grew up with Michael Brown and said his death led to a new way to look at life.

The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis started the Save Our Sons program in response to the unrest in Ferguson and Ruffin took advantage of the resources.

Ruffin works for Dobbs Tire and Auto Center changing tires and the tides of his life.

“I can afford stuff now,” he said, “I’ve been doing a lot of stuff for my family, my mom, and it’s been awesome.”

The Ritenour High School graduate grew up in St. Louis City and now lives in St. Ann. Just a few months ago he said the concept of working for a living wasn’t going to work out. He was encouraged by mentors with the Save Our Sons program – using the epic poem the Odyssey to show young men how they can overcome obstacles.

“I could be in jail right now or anywhere if I didn’t go into the program,” Ruffin said.

The program last four weeks. In the first week they learn how to get a job. The second week they learn how to keep a job. Then in the third week they learn how to get promoted and the fourth week shows them how to remain marketable. The program stemmed from the unrest that followed the shooting death of Michael Brown. The chaos that exploded exposed a lot of issues, including the fact that a lot of young African American men in north St. Louis County didn’t have any jobs or job training.

“That had a big effect on me because I actually went to school with Michael Brown,” Ruffin added. “When you see something like that happen to someone know of course it’s going to shell-shock you.”

Ruffin said it could have been him in that situation.

“When you’re not working and you don’t have anything to wake up and look forward to most of the time the only thing to turn to is trouble or just being in the streets,” said Ruffin.

But the streets ultimately motivated this young man straight toward a different direction.

“Save Our Sons changed my life,” Ruffin continued. “It did a lot for my life and it changed me as a person, as a man.”

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