BUSHWICK - A Brooklyn-based cadet program is trying to give discipline and structure to troubled young residents of the borough.
?Kids are in the streets getting caught with drugs and being high school drop outs,? says Jay Ortiz. Ortiz founded the Suns of Justice Cadets in response to the problems he sees in many of Brooklyn?s children. The program?s participants say they are seeing a difference in themselves.
?I know not to be nervous and to have a lot of self-esteem,? says Jaekwon Tucker, a cadet moving up the ranks of the program.
Parents are also noticing changes, saying the young cadets are doing better in school and more polite at home after time with Ortiz.
In addition to improving the children?s self-worth, the program emphasizes community service. Cadets have been donating time at soup kitchens, cleaning up litter and working with Toys for Tots.
The program?s drill sergeants say the borough lacks sufficient programs to help keep its children out of trouble.