By Jonathan Singh SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — The Southwest Community Center Library is home to Team Angel, founded earlier this year. An organization started by Syracuse Native, Eddie Mitchell a.k.a Lil’ Ed, Team Angel connects with middle school, and high school students who are seeking extra advising, both at home and school.
Lil’ Ed’s mission is to speak with the kids regarding issues they are facing at home, in the classroom, and on the streets. Lil Ed’ has first hand experience on what it is like under hard times. The once struggling teen, does not want the youth to face what he did when he was a youngster.
“What I am doing here is devoting my time to the kids who need the help. I’m trying to turn the bad into the good. Syracuse is known for their crime, and poor inner city school districts. A lot of times these kids home situations, result into poor discipline in the class room, and then eventually violence in the streets.” Lil’ Ed says.
Lil’ Ed has had over 100 friends pass away to due shootings and other acts of violence. He fears for the children in today’s era, knowing that at any given moment something can go wrong, especially in a community like Syracuse.
“Gang banging, and hurting people is not the answer, and it all starts at home. Some of these kids grow up without parents, and they are guided in the wrong direction.” Lil’ Ed. says.
High school Junior Tazhere Lawson is a member of Team Angel. He has known Lil’ Ed since 2012 way before the group was established. Tazhere is slowly working with Lil’ Ed to get if life back on track. At the age of 15, he was shot twice in the leg, just a few blocks away from his house in the Downtown Syracuse area. After being shot he was disabled from playing the sport that he has the most passion for.
“I was in the hospital, and Lil’ Ed came to visit me, right then and there I knew that he was by my side.” Tazher says.
Tazhere is now doing whatever he can to finish off high school. He has plans to eventually enroll in college. The 17 year old is an aspiring athletic director. He wants to work in a school and help student-athletes succeed both in class and on the field.