Last updated: August 23. 2013 4:54PM - 111 Views

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LIMA — The Lima YMCA Black Achieves hit a milestone, with its first paid director.YMCA’s president and chief executive officer, Jerry Courtney, introduced Lewis Shine Jr. on Wednesday, saying the addition marks a renewed commitment to the city’s youth.Shine, a Lima Senior High School honors graduate and Spartan basketball standout, said he’s excited to serve as an example of a young person making this community his home and helping youth succeed.“With my experiences, I think I can help kids,” Shine said. “I got tired of hearing kids say they would leave and not come back. This should be a place where kids want to come back. We’re going to take this thing to another level.”The new position is a turning point, Courtney said.“When you look at the demographics of the city, graduation rates and the number of kids living in poverty, we’re uniquely positioned to address all of those needs,” Courtney said. “I would suggest we would be morally absent if we didn’t address those needs of an underserved population.”Shine, 27, has been a personal trainer and fitness instructor at the YMCA. He earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Miami University, has played and helped coach semiprofessional basketball and is active at Cornerstone Harvest Church.Derek Richardson, a member of the Black Achievers Steering Committee, said he was “excited to have Lewis as an ambassador of the program.”The program has three goals, Courtney said: “to help kids of color prepare to graduate high school, for different career paths and for college.”Courtney wants an outcome-based program, so that children’s progress can be measured from when they begin to when they finish.“It’s about expanding capacity of kids in the city to understand they can have control over their future through education and by being engaged and volunteering and taking ownership of their community,” Courtney said.

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