HARRIS' HEROES

Raymond Bell and H.O.P.E. project help students succeed

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You won't find many people in the world like Raymond Bell.

The IT specialist has dedicated his life to helping others excel through the founding of the H.O.P.E. Project.

"In a month and a half [to] two months,...I had two jobs in government buildings working government contracts," program participant Deryle Foxworth said.

Foxworth moved to Washington, D.C. from North Carolina for a great learning opportunity. 

"It's humbling knowing where I've come from and where I'm at now...it's humbling but very inspirational. It inspires me to want to do more," Foxworth added.

He joined the H.O.P.E. Project, which stands for Helping Other People Excel. The information technology program gives young people the skills they need to land a career in the field.

Bell explained, "I got tired of seeing young people struggling unnecessarily."

Since its founding three years ago, Bell's students have gone from unemployed and underemployed to working major IT contracts for the federal government.

"This is not a program at all. This is a movement to change the lives of young people," Bell said.

The H.O.P.E. Project meets twice a week at The International Graduate University in Southeast.

"It's really great. I'm proud...my family's proud," student Alyssia Suarez said. "It made me a better person and I started to believe in myself."

So many students have achieved success, they have nicknamed the program the "Harvard of the hood."

Bell said, "I don't just want them to be world class IT professionals... I want them to become world class individuals."

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