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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) – ‘Tis the season for giving, but in some inner city neighborhoods there’s not a lot of money to do a whole lot of shopping.

We found two people at the heart of making children’s dreams come true at the Zelma George Recreation Center.

Cleveland kids waited in line to receive a toy during a holiday party at the rec center.

Standing nearby, were two people who truly know the joy of giving: Brandon McCruel and Talessia Martin.

Brandon McCruel started an organization named Brand New Youth Mentoring.

“I can remember as a child growing up with a single parent in Cleveland that rec centers and local organizations donated things that made Christmas or school supplies happen,” said McCruel.

Talessia Martin started Healing Hearts after she did some healing of her own.

She has 17 convictions for receiving stolen property and theft.  But now, she mentors young people to help them make better choices.

“I grew up in the projects, and I see the little girls that think let me go to the mall and steal and that’s popular.  I tell them, ‘hey, no, you have two more years for school. Go away – go off to college,'” said Martin.

McCruel invited Martin to help him put on a Christmas Party for kids and families in need.

“Just to see the excitement and the thanks from the parents because that’s a relief to see someone give someone a new pair of tennis shoes or a new bike,” said McCruel.

“These kids with one toy – they were just so joyful, so happy – it’s amazing.  You have to sit back and analyze all that,” said Martin.




Article and Pictures Courtesy of WOIO 19 Action News

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