SALEM, Ohio (WYTV) – Starting a new non-profit organization is never easy, especially when you’re trying to help people in a hands-on way.
Scott Lewis’ new non-profit organization The Brightside Project plans to help kids that just need somebody else in their life. They might be going through tough times at home or dealing with issues like poverty or parents abusing drugs.
Lewis wants to partner with schools and get referrals from teachers or permission slips from parents to work with the kids.
“There’s a lot of people struggling right now, still in poverty, and kids are in those conditions and just so many things, and we really just wanted to do something to get back out,” Lewis said.
It’s because of that passion and drive to make a change in the Valley that Lewis was nominated to be this week’s WYTV Hometown Hero.
Born and raised in Salem, Lewis said he watched his parents work and struggle for him. He and his wife, too, had to work hard to raise their three daughters.
“My father was a garbage man. I’ve done a lot of little things, being a garbage man and a florist,” Lewis said.
Lewis says that struggle transferred directly to helping kids whose parents can’t provide for them.
“They just can’t provide or they can’t provide food to those kids, and those kids are going hungry,” Lewis said. “When my girls were growing up, that was one thing we did, we always made sure they had food.”
Last week, The Brightside Project held its first giveaway in Salem. Volunteers met with families in the area, giving away helpful and fun items to kids in need.
Lewis said they hope to provide any items kids need as well as mentor services.
This isn’t his first time putting an organization together, though. Lewis has been working with non-profit organizations for 12 years.
“Once it’s in your blood for non-profit, it’s hard to get out, but I really have a passion for helping kids, especially from homes that just don’t have a choice,” he said.
Lewis said the moment he realized they needed to do something bigger was back in May. That’s when three adults were arrested after police reported finding a methamphetamine lab in their Sebring home. Two young children were also living there.
For more information on The Brightside Project, visit www.brightsideprojectohio.org.