Port Colborne man opens garage to connect with at risk youth
A man who turned his life around after leaving prison is hoping to encourage at risk youth in Port Colborne.
As a teen Rick 'Ozzy' Osborne experienced street level trauma and got involved in drugs. He says by 16 the lifestyle made him 'a monster.' By 21, he was serving 25 years in jail for various robbery, weapons, and drug related offences.
During his incarceration he earned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology and his mechanic's license. When he was finally free again, he had developed a passion for working with young people.
He began speaking at schools and high risk areas, but couldn't find steady employment given his dark past.
From there, he began working on hot rods and Harley's in his driveway. It was then that he noticed high school kids were drawn to the vehicles, and they began to open up to him.
Osborne saw a way to reach at risk youths in a new way.
"The same kid who has trouble talking to you, articulating what is going on in his life so you can advocate for him, will start talking as he's moving his hands," Osborne says. "It's the cool factor of working on an old Harley or working on a - we have a '76 Corvette we're working on right now - but it's also that moving their hands and you spending time with them. Eventually it starts coming out, what's going on in their life. And that's where you need to get to so you can help them from that point of view."
To reach even more kids, Osborne is opening 'Ozzy's Garage' a new program where youth can stop in, get their hands dirty, and talk to someone who can really understand what they're going through.
The public is invited to the official opening this Saturday from noon until 4 p.m.
The garage can be found at the corner Charlotte Street and King Street in Port Colborne.
Osborne says he will be working with kids pretty much every day after the opening, but Tuesdays and Thursday evening will tend to be big drop in days.