Houston returns to Douglasville with new mentoring program

Rashad Milligan/Douglas County Sentinel Douglas County High School graduate Ian Houston has returned to Douglasville with his new mentoring program "True-Liif," which focuses on entire families.

The "picture of perseverance" known as Ian Houston is still going. Four years after he finished his undergraduate degree in sociology at the University of West Georgia, he is currently on the verge of finishing his master's degree in Social Foundations of Education and his Ph.D. in sociology. And he doesn't plan on stopping there.

Houston's desire to acquire as many degrees as he can may seem a bit ironic, considering the beginning of his postsecondary educational career. He dropped out of Georgia Southern a year after he graduated from Douglas County High School because he felt like school wasn't for him. After spending years in the Air Force Reserves and moving around metro Atlanta, Houston decided that education was the key to giving him a more stable lifestyle.

"My mother made the statement that when you make the first A, you're going to lose your mind," Houston said. "I started off at West Georgia Technical College, it was my English 1101 class and I got my first A in there. I went bananas."

Houston transferred to the University of West Georgia when he discovered that he wanted to become a high school literature teacher. He finished the bachelor's program in two and a half years, graduating from the school's honor college, Cum Laude, and from three honors societies.

Now he has returned to Douglasville and is introducing his mentoring program "True-Liif" to the community. The difference between "True-Liif" and the traditional mentoring program is that "True-Liif" puts an emphasis on including the entire child's family.

"There's trauma in the classroom. There's trauma in the home. There's trauma just watching what's going on in the world," Houston said. "Trauma is induced. So we want to make sure specifically that there is a place to have a conversation."

One of the more important events that will occur in the "True-Liif" organization is family dinners. Once parents get home from work and unwind, they can come have dinner with their children and the rest of the program's families for a discussion. The events are going to be set up in a way that engages all family members. The only topics that are going to be off limits are politics because Houston wants the children to form their own opinions growing up.

There will also be a fitness program for all program participants. The fitness program will teach participants what a push up represents in regards to life. The exercise maneuver represents the value of patience because just like in life, it takes time to see the results.

After re-introducing himself and introducing "True-Liif" to the community at the September Saturdays Festival at the Douglas County Courthouse, Houston said he looks forward to working with other local organizations including Beyond the Front Porch and Rare Pearls. There will be an interest meeting towards the end of November for anyone who desires get involved with the program before all operations start in 2018, Houston said. Anyone who wants more information or the exact date can visit http://www.trueliif.org/ for more details. Houston can be emailed at ihouston@trueliif.org.

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