Veterans in Green Beret Project guide teens to break cycle of crime | #College. | #Students

As we pause to honor veterans on Thursday, a group of Delaware vets is still engaged in an important mission on the homefront.

Several Delaware veterans are using their military experience to help break the cycle of crime in local communities by connecting with youth.

Founded by a former Army Green Beret soldier, the Green Beret Project started in 2016 in Dover and has expanded to Wilmington and Georgetown, offering after-school programs that provide tutoring, lessons on nutrition, physical fitness, job skills and personal finance skills.

FBI Special Agent Justin Downen, middle, a founder of the Green Beret Project, talks with participants at Fort A.B.L.E., the former Boys & Girls Club in Dover. Downen is a former Army Green Beret soldier.

“We reach maybe 100 kids a week, but have a core of 15 to 20 who have demonstrated their commitment to the program who get to do more exciting stuff,” said Scott Kelly, past board president, now treasurer.

That includes hikes, rafting, farm tours, college football games and job opportunities.

“It’s designed to reward a young man or woman who is committed to the program,” said Kelly, who served 24 years in the Army.

One student who demonstrated his commitment to the program is Maurice Cannon, who stayed on track academically with the help of the Green Beret Project and graduated from Dover High School this year. He just enlisted in the Delaware National Guard and is preparing for basic training.

Green Beret Project state president Adam Kramer congratulates Green Beret Project member Maurice Cannon after Cannon's graduation from Dover High School earlier this year. Cannon has enlisted in the Delaware National Guard.

His path to success started when he walked over to the Green Beret Project’s youth center in Dover to play basketball and met a Dover police officer, now retired, who was one of the first volunteer leaders in the program.

“From the moment I met them we started talking about working out, staying fit, staying healthy,” said Cannon. “They tutored me over my junior year. I was failing math, but they helped me graduate.”

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