Newport News, Va. - We shine our People Taking Action spotlight on a Newport News man proving good things are coming out of a community that often gets overshadowed by negativity.
In the process, he's helping kids start their day with a big smile.
Near Ninth and Ivey Streets in the east end section of Newport News, you'll find Thomas Green and a bunch of neighborhood kids.
Monday through Friday, the kids count on him for free snacks and juice, plus an encouraging word before they board their school bus.
Parents like Stacie Hicks say it's a big deal.
"I know for my girls, it's positive when they hit that corner and they see Mr. Green, their whole face lights up. Last week they got books,” says Hicks.
Taking action is important to Green, "I try to be a positive role model in their life around here, because a whole lot of people are dying, killing each other off; it's just real sad."
Now right across the street, there's a convenience store. The kids could get their treats there, but the parents say it's not the same thing. Just ask another parent, Anatalya Thomas who says visiting Mr. Green is just special.
"You know kids need positive role models in their lives,” says Thomas. “Being down here people assume there aren't any, so with him being the person he is, he gives the kids some hope that people actually care about them."
Green says he can relate to the kids in this community.
"My father wasn't in my household, so I understand when a family struggles. I went to bed hungry before, put it that way,” says Green.
There's another reason Green takes action.
"I'm a recovering addict. When I got clean, that's what motivated me to start doing positive things for the neighborhood."
That's why Stacie Hicks nominated Green.
"It's important for me, because I grew up in this area and to come back to this area after years and see there is somebody that still cares,” says Hicks.
For all those reasons, we presented Green with a People Taking Action award along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner Southern Bank.
And of course, Green plans to spend the money on the kids.