In New Video, “Pull Your Pants Up,” Kids Rap a Positive, Hopeful Message for Other Kids in Challenging Circumstances

Newswise — NEW YORK, JANUARY 15, 2013 – January is National Mentoring Month.

As one of the most innovative mentoring organizations in the country, South Bronx-based Health People Community Preventive Health Institute is saluting the kids who are part of its “Kids-Helping-Kids” mentoring program for the public service they engage in 365 days a year.

At the heart of the Kids-Helping-Kids program, which trains older teens to help younger kids overcome difficult situations, stay in school and build their lives, is the message that all kids can help others and their community. Many of the teen mentors have lost their parents to illness, or are in foster care, but they still help younger children with similar problems.

Twenty years ago, Health People pioneered the groundbreaking approach of peer education and peer mentoring whereby community residents affected by HIV/AIDS are trained to educate each other about AIDS prevention and treatment. That peer-to-peer approach, which has expanded to include diabetes, asthma and smoking, is also at the heart of the Kids-Helping-Kids program.

And, with the help of 60s pop icon Lesley Gore, the kids, ages five to 20, recently produced a brand new music video and iTunes single that is quickly going viral on YouTube.

“Pull Your Pants Up” (http://www.youtube.com/user/HealthPeopleKids/featured) is a rap 100 percent written by the kids that puts out a positive and hopeful social message for other kids who – through no fault of their own -- face similarly difficult circumstances of family illness, breakup, addiction, incarceration and foster care . It urges them to stay in school, to reach higher and build their lives and communities, and become leaders. To be what they really are – youth with a future, not kids with their pants sagging on the ground.

“As the number of parentless youths in New York City soars, Kids-Helping-Kids Mentoring Program is a beacon of hope where these kids find a safe haven to realize their full potential,” said Chris Norwood, founder and executive director, Health People. “And it’s remarkable how the kids rise to the occasion and become responsible mentors to other kids.”

“First and foremost, being a mentor means responsibility,” explains Tarik Carr, who became a mentor when his mother died five years ago. “I thought I’d lost everything and I was going in the wrong direction. Then, when I became a mentor, I realized I could make a difference. I love helping others kids.”

Tarik is one of 35 youth mentors and mentees at Health People that the organization is saluting this month. Outside evaluation has confirmed that the mentoring concept upon which Kids-Helping-Kids is based effects positive change for youths and the community at large. Development shows that the Health People kids have many good outcomes – nearly all stay in school and steer clear of drugs.

About Health PeopleHealth People is a groundbreaking peer education, prevention and support organization in the South Bronx whose mission is to train and empower residents of communities overwhelmed by chronic disease and AIDS to become leaders and educators in effectively preventing ill health, hospitalization, and unnecessary death.

Established in 1990 as a women’s AIDS prevention and support program, Health People has grown, using its peer-education model, to provide a full range of HIV/AIDS services for men, women and families. It also has conducted community asthma programs, New York’s first diabetes peer-educators program, and a community smoking cessation program. Health People’s Junior Peer program, Kids-Helping-Kids includes teens who are mentors for younger children with sick or missing parents.

For more information, please visit www.healthpeople.org.

About “Pull Your Pants Up”To view the video and donate to Health People directly, please visit: http://www.youtube.com/user/HealthPeopleKids/featured

To purchase the song ($.99), please visit iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/pull-your-pants-up-feat.-lesley/id574236216.

Proceeds from the sale will benefit Health People and its programs.

Social media users:Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/HealthPeople.org Twitter: https://twitter.com/HealthPeopleOrg.YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/HealthPeopleKids/featured