SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Tracy Morris is changing young people's lives with a simple idea — he shows them what the world has to offer.
Morris felt like he didn't have a lot of good opportunities when he was growing up, so he started Blue Heart Foundation as a way to make sure Black teenage boys in San Diego have a chance to expand their horizons.
"There's this stereotype that young Black men are looked at one kind of way," Morris told ABC 10News. "When you meet our guys, it's like — I guess I was wrong."
It's not easy to describe everything Blue Heart Foundation does. At its heart, it's a club for teenagers to meet friends in a safe and supportive environment. Older kids are mentors, welcoming younger kids into the fold. Morris calls it "a true brotherhood." But that's only the beginning.
Professionals from a variety of fields visit the kids and share their experiences, opening up worlds like science, technology, politics, and more. Outings include trips to Petco Park to see a game, or trips to beach to learn how to surf. There's even a way for Blue Heart Foundation members to take to the skies and get their pilot's license.
Giving back is a major pillar of the program. Parent advocate Stacy Dent says her son has accumulated over 1,600 hours of community service with Blue Heart Foundation. She says the life lessons are invaluable. "From household to school, to living while Black ... it can be a lot of pressure."
Blue Heart Foundation aims to help alleviate those pressures and set up kids for success. In fact, Morris says every teenager to pass through the program has been accepted to college, and many of those graduates are now coming back to share their experiences.
For taking a simple idea and turning it into a successful program for local teens, ABC 10News and LEAD San Diego presented Tracy Morris and Blue Heart Foundation with the 10News Leadership Award.
"These are kind young men. They care about each other. They care about the community. And they care about themselves."