The story

The young man looks nervous standing in front of the gym at the Salvation Army Center on Bushwick Avenue. His eyes are cast down and he shifts from foot to foot, seeming intensely interested in his shoes.

Every 30 seconds or so, he lifts his head. His eyes dart around the room, taking in about 100 of his friends who are sitting in plastic chairs. They are dressed in colorful basketball league T-shirts and they chat with each other as they wait to hear Jonathan Severe, 14, and five of his friends talk about their life-changing journey to South Africa in August.

Severe is a star basketball player and the Salvation Army Center is his home gym. He usually rules this place and is utterly unused to feeling so terrified here. The presentation starts with an introduction from the adults in charge and too soon it his turn to speak.

We hear him take a deep breath and he reads from the Power Point presentation projected on the screen.

"The flight to Johannesburg was 18 hours," he says. Watch the kids' journey to South Africa Read full article »

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