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Jefferson Awards: Fred Bailey Makes a Difference for At-Risk Kids

Updated: Tuesday, October 22 2013, 10:52 PM CDT
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SUMNER COUNTY, Tenn. - For the past month, we've been asking you to tell us about unsung heroes, people really making a difference in our community. We're featuring them on the news in a new program called the Jefferson Awards. Tonight, we kick off that program with the story of Fred Bailey. Monday-Thursday, for about 90 students in Sumner County, school begins when school lets out. They're part of an after school program called Children are People. It was founded by Fred Bailey, the son of a Gallatin sharecropper, who's sharing lessons he learned from his father with a new generation.

Every student at CAP was at-risk when they started. Mr. Bailey and his team of volunteer tutors begin by building character. They demand hard work and make children accountable by refusing to accept excuses. That's because Bailey, who's blind but earned a college degree and has a successful business career, never allowed himself to make any. These kids are learning to overcome their circumstances by following Mr. Bailey's rules. In 13 years, every student who stayed in the program has graduated from high school. 94% continued their education, with many of them, like the students on the Honor Wall, going to college.

Mr. Bailey and his team offer the kids a hand up. Barry Lilley has children in the program.

Fred Bailey will be the first to tell you he's not politically correct, but he and his supporters believe their message has staying power. Another thing that makes Mr. Bailey so special is he runs this program solely on donations. He refuses to accept government dollars because he's trying to teach the children to rely on themselves and not government assistance.

Fred Bailey is our very first Jefferson Award recipient. To nominate someone for the Jefferson Awards, CLICK HERE. WE now have an online form you can fill out and email to us.

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