AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Bomb City Young Marines is one of the newest youth programs in Amarillo, but it is already helping kids get started on the right foot.

Unit Commander John Cardenas said the program started around April 2019.

“The parent group and myself saw a real need for a solid youth program here in Amarillo that not only teaches core values that the Marines teach, but also honors our veterans,” Cardenas explained.

The program meets every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. sharp to go over drills and leadership skills. Although the weekly meet-ups involve some military training, Cardenas said the program is not made to push a kid anywhere into the military or any other branch.

“We just want them to be the best leaders in their community, the best spiritual leaders, best doctors, lawyers, plumbers… whatever they want to be.”

The Young Marines’ mission has already made a positive impact in the city.

“A young gentleman who was giving a drug reduction speech to his classes, we were able to, after that speech, identify a lady who came up to him and actually let him know she was experiencing some of the things he was talking about, as far as drugs in her home and how to combat them,’ Cardenas said. “With his help, along with along with the school’s and the Young Marines program, we were actually able to assist that young lady.”

Since it started up, Cardenas said the program has logged over 1,500 hours of community service. According to Cardenas, the extra hours spent outside of school shouldn’t interfere with the Young Marines’ grades.

“One of the pillar factors for the Young Marines is that you have to be in good standing with your school,” Cardenas added. “We’re not here to make bad kids good, but we’re here to make good kids better and that’s a big thing for us.”

To learn more about the Bomb City Young Marines’ mission and the enrollment process, click here.