PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Portsmouth city leaders want to help kids stay on the right path through a youth leadership program and mentorship.

The Saturday Academy is sponsored by Portsmouth City Parks and Recreation.

On the first Saturday of every month, Dr. M. Julius Hayes helps kids development of leadership skills.

“Our young people are hurting every day because many of them do not have hope,” said Dr. Hayes. “We have to educate, engage, and move with into an action that is second to none. Young people, you do not allow anyone to take away your dream!”

Pernell Nelson with the ‘Stop Shooting’ movement. Nelson tells 10 On Your Side he makes positive rap music with positive messages and to stop shooting.

“I like to rap, so let me rap about that. Let’s make it look cool to be positive, rap positive,” said Nelson. “A lot of kids, they do not have guidance, nobody positive around them, coming here they come and sit down and learn something.”

Mayor Shannon Glover said, “They need to know that we as leaders support them in their leadership development, what that means is, we have to instill in them confidence, competence and ability to respect themselves and respect each other.”

If you missed this one there is another program next month on March 4.

The Saturday academy happens at J.E. Parker recreation center at 2350 Turnpike Road in Portsmouth.