The 55 Project looking for mentors to help at-risk youth in the Lowcountry

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BLUFFTON, SC (WSAV) – DJ Fields lost his own future when he was shot and killed back in March.

Now DJ’s family is working to make sure no other families have to deal with their own tragedy, by working with the kids before it turns deadly.

“They have nowhere to go so they need an outlet.” explains Dwon Fields, Sr.

Even before his son DJ was killed, as a counselor in Beaufort County Schools for more than a decade D’won Fields knows that kids need a way to release stress before results turn tragic.

“We are looking for standup adults that are willing to help these kids get where they need to be,” said Fields.

“Without the correction to physical activity in the military I wouldn’t be where I am at today,” said JP Hester.

The 55 Project is named in honor of DJ Fields, a Bluffton High football player shot and killed back in March

That’s why JP Hester and Pulseology gyms have teamed up with his friend to create the 55 project.

“Part of the commitment that I made to DJ initially was that we were going to make a change in this community,” said Hester. “After his tragic death that became more apparent that we needed to push to make a change in this community.”

55 was DJ Fields’ number on the football field. The project is getting teens back on track.

“We are just asking people to donate their time, their resources, and their energy to try and make our community better than it’s ever been,” said Hester.

It’s a mentorship program for men and women willing to step up through talks, physical activity, and whatever else is needed to keep local teens out of trouble.

“Give them an outlet and somebody they can look up to. they know they have someone on their side they can turn to,” explains Fields. “I’m taking every step of the way about this to make sure that we are on the right path.”

“Being able to give someone a path to walk down rather than take the wrong route because without that you are going to go wherever your peers influence you. And many times your peers aren’t the best influences compared to men like us who have walked that walk and been through those things and can help keep them out of trouble.”

“I know a lot of these kids in this area look up to their coaches or their teachers to do different things,” says Fields. “The role model doesn’t necessarily have to be in the house they just need someone to stand up for them.”

“Just because you don’t have all those mentors in your house in your home or even in your community, they are out there,” says Hester. “So all we are asking for is you want to step up, be a mentor, we are providing a platform for you, and if you are a youth we are going to marry those two things up.”

“Give them an outlet something that can actually do and focus their energy on something that points them in the positive direction is the big picture,” said Scott Otwell of Pulseology.

“I don’t believe we can save everybody but if we can save five out of 10 we are making a success,” said Fields.

The 55 Project is kicking off over Memorial Day weekend with a special event at Pulseology’s ETC (Elite Training Center) on Fording island rd in Bluffton.

The gym is donating proceeds from every membership this weekend to the 55 Project. It is also hosting a physical fitness event and cookout on Monday.

It’s called the Murph Challenge. Named for LT. Michael P. Murphy and raising money for his scholarship program. It’s a workout involving 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups 300 air squats, and run a mile. All with or without wearing body armor.

You can do it by yourself or as a team, with each person taking on one or more challenges.

The event runs from 9am-1pm and ends with a cookout.

You can come and participate or watch. There will be some Beaufort County students there taking part. There will also be a sign-up to be a 55 project mentor or for kids who may want to be a mentee.

For more information on the Murph Challenge go to: www.pulseologyetc.com

To find out more about the 55 Project you can contact D’Won Fields directly on Facebook, or send an email to infothe55project@gmail.com.

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