published Friday, March 1st, 2013

Getting stronger: Hixson-based program On Point honors youths making positive life decisions

Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, left, talks with Hugh Maclellan before the On Point dinner Thursday at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, left, talks with Hugh Maclellan before the On Point dinner Thursday at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
Photo by Angela Lewis.

What breaks us makes us stronger if we let it, was a theme at On Point's annual dinner Thursday night.

Central High School senior Adareus Jackson is an example of this, just as much as Jim Daly, the national president of Focus on the Family, keynote speaker of the fundraising event.

On Point is a Hixson-based program that works to help teens in the region's schools learn to make good life decisions through a variety of mentorship programs.

Jackson said the Life On Point program at Central High School changed his life.

"It kept me out of trouble and taught me how to be a leader," he said.

Because of the decisions the program helped him make, he is graduating and going to college.

The dinner wasn't just a time to celebrate Jackson's success, but to honor all the youths like him who are making positive life decisions.

"Helping youth thrive is the mission of On Point," Lesley Scearce, the CEO, said.

The theme of the night was "Glad You Were There," which focused on people who make a difference in others' lives and help them succeed.

Daly told his story of how someone made a difference in his life.

When Daly was 5, his alcoholic father abandoned his family. Four years later his mother died of cancer and his stepfather took everything from the family home while Daly and his four older siblings were at her funeral.

Years of sometimes-traumatic foster care followed. In high school, a sports coach entered his life, showing care and sharing faith that Daly said changed his life.

These painful experiences shaped his life and his ministry, he said.

"People that work with kids like I was are close to my heart," Daly said. "On Point has a great spirit and a creative approach to reaching kids. I would be excited to collaborate with them in the future."

Cecelia Cameron, Hixson High School senior class president, said being involved with On Point's Teen Board has taught lifelong leadership skills.

The Palmer Griffin Teen Board Memorial Scholarship was given to Savannah Clay from Silverdale Baptist and Bria Ramsey from East Hamilton.

And Jackson became the recipient of the Kris Frainie Founders Scholarship, which he will use toward his education at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

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