GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — The “Brothers Excelling with Self-Sufficiency to Thrive,” or B.E.S.T program, hopes to continue putting at-risk youth on the right path as long as the Guilford County Commissioners approve an extension of their greenhouse lease.

Since 2018, the program has been aiming to help at-risk youth stay away from violence and put them on a path to a better future.

“When they first come in here, they’re kind of wild. Kind of disoriented. Don’t know where they want to go…no idea of what they want to do in life. When they leave here, they are better grounded,” B.E.S.T Designer Mark McKenney said.

The hydroponics mentor program focuses on holistic strategies to construct a defense that identifies, attacks and destroys problems and issues.

“The streets are teaching them gang mentality. They’re teaching them thug mentality: how to steal, kill and destroy…that’s not good,” McKenney said.

The program helps at-risk boys referred by the court system or officials inside the Guilford County School District.

B.E.S.T Hydroponics Garden is at the former Prison Farm that once housed low-risk inmates. The mentorship uses two greenhouses to teach the boys, hold information sessions and plant vegetables as a different approach to working with the environment.

Voulynne Small is the executive director of Best Mentoring Hydrophoncs Garden and said they are working on a plan to present to county commissioners about why the extension of the greenhouse lease for the program.

“When we talk about mentoring, we’re talking about taking one person and being with them mentally for a minimum of a year. So they’re getting formal mentoring long-term. We want to make sure that we are trying to think differently, so they will act differently. We’re converting them from what they know now to something else that could be something positive,” Small said.

Once the vegetables are ready to pick, they’re donated to different organizations.If approved during the March 16 commissioner’s meeting, the lease will be extended for another five years at $2,400 a year.