CLEVELAND -- The dream of going to college isn't always an easy dream to achieve.
And when you grow up in public housing, that dream can be an even bigger challenge.
That's why the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority has a program to mentor teens and show them what's possible.
It focuses on leadership skills and education.
This program is more than teaching teens; it's about giving them the tools to become leaders and then to turn around and help others.
Patrick Parker grew up in CMHA public housing, but dreams of a life beyond his neighborhood.
"I just always wanted something better for myself, my mom, and my siblings," Parker said.
At 17 years old, Patrick Parker isn't afraid to dream big.
Parkersays he wants to go to college, "[to] become an electrical engineer and maybe move to California."
Parker'smother, Elzera Hill, calls her home a safe havenaway from drugs and violence.A life, she says, is just beyond their front door.
Hillsays she keeps a strict, but positive household. She's hung inspirational sayings and blessings throughout the house.
For Parker, her eldest,she says, "I think about his kindergarten diploma and now I have his high school diploma."
And eventually, a college diploma. The first in the family.
Parkercredits his mother's tough love for inspiring him to sign up for a public housing mentor program.
"It keeps you out of trouble," Parker explains."It makes me notice things and really take chances and take opportunity of chances I have."
And you become a GS:Tag member for life.
Lynell Ogletree, now a college freshman, is Parker's mentor.
Ogletreesays GS:Tag focused him, allowing him to see his own potential.
"People don't know what they want to do. They just want that extra push. GS:Tag was that extra push," Ogletree said.
Ogletreealso grew up in public housing and will be the first in his family to graduate from afour-year college.
At first, Parker says he wasn't interested in getting to know Ogletree, but as soon as they started talking about their lives, they connected.
"You meet someone so fast and they influence you so much and I talked to him on the phone and he was like 'college is good,' Parker shared. "He's a good role model too."
Ogletreesays having faced the same hurdles, the same temptations thatParker is now facing, he wanted to help.
"I was going to reach him no matter what, and college was going to play a key role in that," Ogletree said.
For Ogletree, his dream is to be a U.S. Marshall here in Cleveland.
He, like Parker, credits GS:Tag, and his mother, for keeping him on the right track.
"It makes me feel proud of him to know that even with the distractions that we had coming up, that he had coming up, he didn't allow that to distract him,"said Janich Mitchell, Ogletree's mother.
For both these teens and their families, they're looking to the future.
And what a bright one it is.