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Two ex-cons continue mentoring work during Black History Month at McClellan H.S.

Having previously served time in prison, Larry McClendon and Willie Graves now shared their stories to make sure young people avoid going down the same path. (Photo: KATV)

Two ex-cons turned mentors spent Tuesday speaking to students in Little Rock, hoping they’ll avoid going down the same road they did.

Larry McClendon and Willie Graves spoke during McClellan High School’s Black History Month program.

McClendon, who spent 29 years in prison, says he now wants to try and change how futures will turn out for the students.

"A lot of these kids don't have fathers,” said McClendon. “A lot of their fathers and grandfathers are already down there in prison, if not dead. So, they need individuals like us to come talk to them."

McClendon says both testimonies are unique.

"’Cause we already know where they're going or where they think they want to go,” said McClendon. “So, we give them a little insight as to what jail and prison is really all about."

"And I want them to know prison isn't the glamour life that they think it is,” said Graves. “That they don't even want to go that way."

After spending 33 and a half years in prison for robberies and burglaries, Graves gives a message of redemption.

"I want them to take away from the story that you can make mistakes and still move forward by correcting those mistakes and putting God in front of you," said Graves.

Both men work out of the Young Adult Learning Center at 12th and Peyton in Little Rock.

They hold mentoring sessions with young people of any age.

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