Program Helps Disadvantaged Teens 'Rise Above It All' - KMSP-TV

Program Helps Disadvantaged Teens 'Rise Above It All'

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A new Massachusetts program helps hope take flight for some children down on their luck. FOX News correspondent Molly Line has the story.

It's not the way a typical teenager spends a Friday afternoon testing fuel levels on a small four-seat plane, but 17-year-old Yves Bellevue of Boston is among the first in a program that aims to help disadvantaged teens or kids fighting illness to rise above it all.

As he rolls down the runway with his hands on the control, Yves is given an enormous amount of responsibility and the opportunity to soar.

"It feels amazing actually; being up in the air... it feels like you're weightless and it's like really fun," said Bellevue.

'Above the clouds' is a Massachusetts based non-profit founded just over a year ago with a mission to bring joy and hope through the wonder of flight.

Pilots have taken more than two dozen seriously ill children for rides so far. They are called "dream flyers". The kids sit shotgun, lifting away from their everyday struggle.

"They're going to sit in the copilot's seat and they're actually going to fly the plane. These are kids who've been very, very sick... through very, very tough times and they haven't experienced much joy in their lives for a long time," said Founder of Above the Clouds Gary Oberstein.

Then there's the 'cadet flyers' like Yves, teens who aim to learn and earn their way to a solo-flight.

"And the best part is when they're actually taking off in the program they're thinking, 'well, if I can do this... then I can do anything if I just work really hard and apply myself' and 'the sky is the limit' and that's really the pot of gold at the end of the runway," said Oberstein.

The drop-out rate in the Boston Public Schools is nearly 15% but to be a cadet you must go to class and do your homework.

Yves lives with his single mom in the city and says the flight lessons have inspired him.

"This makes me want to have something definitely to do with planes. Like either the Air Force or aerospace engineering to make better designs for planes," said Bellevue.

The message from Above the Clouds is that despite adversity with hard work a bright future lies on the horizon.

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