Community Gem: Malcom Keith helps teens with challenges outside school

Malcom Keith helps teens with challenges outside the school setting
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Malcom Keith helps teens with challenges outside the school setting

Malcom Keith is the newest area director of Dayton Urban Young Life, a Christian teen mentorship program, but his community services endeavors started well before taking on the position.

Keith was nominated as a Dayton Daily News Community Gem by Kris Horlacher, executive director of Shoes 4 the Shoeless and Young Life board member.

Malcom Keith
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Malcom Keith

“I am nominating him because his work among urban teens in Dayton is outstanding,” she said. “Malcom would never seek any attention or honors. Instead, he tirelessly works with some of the neediest and neglected teens in our city.”

In his position Keith helps connect Dayton area students with surrogate parents or Big Brothers and Big Sisters that spend for to six hours with the students for the entire school year. They also participate in various community service events.

Keith said recognition isn’t the reason why he helps the city’s youth.

“The best part about having that (recognition) is I would want people to see it and want to help out. That’s the message I would want to come from all of that,” he said.

Keith is originally from Gary, Indiana and settled in Dayton years later where he would start mentoring high school students after his daughter started a PTA at Thurgood Marshall.

“That’s when I got embedded in the school system in a big way because I started seeing that one of the only ways our kids are going to get an education is if the parent comes in and be part of the education,” he said.

He helps college bound students with essays, applications, seeking scholarships, and finding careers. For those that don’t have an interest in college he helps them graduate and secure employment to ensure they are being productive.

Keith helps the students with real life struggles or challenges outside of just school. He serves as an emergency contact for some and even takes them grocery shopping and to work.

“I could write a book filled with the positive outcomes of his efforts,” Horlacher said.