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Monday, April 26, Woods has taken his experiences as a mentor for young people and turned them into a book that teaches adults how to be strong role models for children and teens. Often, he says, he sees his own difficult adolescence reflected in the young people he works with in Stamford. Now, with a newly released book in hand and years working in Stamford under his belt, the longtime West Side fixture has a new mission in mind.

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He wants to turn his attention to adults and teach them how to be the role models young people need. Barry Woods far left poses with his latest basketball mentorship group, along with team Coach Dan Latuer far right and former New York Knicks player Allan Houston center. Woods has spent decades working with young people in Stamford through both sports and social service organizations.

Barry Woods worked with Anthony Simmons as a young man in Stamford. Simmons eventually went on to an overseas contract for basketball. Time and time again, Woods said he sees the same overarching themes while working with young adults: Kids with complicated home lives fixate on big dreams — breaking into the music or sports industries — as a way to escape from their day-to-day struggles.

Woods was no exception. He dabbled in both worlds before starting his career in social work. He played basketball at Southern Connecticut State University in the late s and later worked in the music industry. Eventually, Woods pivoted away from the high life and started working with young people instead, he said.

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Terell Middleton, 26, met Woods as an elementary schooler with basketball on the mind. He was young but talented and eventually started playing with the older .

Adult wants love Stamford Connecticut

At the same time, Middleton said his bond with Woods became unbreakable. Woods said he thinks that kind of emotional give-and-take is the bedrock of successful relationships with young people. But all too often, he sees adults run away from turbulent discussions and cast them aside as disrespect. Point blank. Getting into emotional spats with the kids he works with, at this point, is just an occupational hazard, he said. Instead of calling the moments rude, Woods said he wants other adults to use them as a way to build stronger emotional connections. He and Woods will stay on the phone for an hour, sometimes two, just catching up.

The support went beyond periodic check-ins.

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Woods would pick him up and drive him to basketball games and tournaments, even though the younger man was hurt. They both understood that being at those games was important to Middleton, to remain part of the community. Fresh off an expulsion from Stamford High School, she said she felt apathetic toward what came next in life. After two years in the program, she missed classes, showed up late and left asments incomplete.

You know it and I know it. So show them, too. During the pandemic, Woods took on yet another mentorship group. I help kids because I used to be one of them.

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I help kids because I know how it feels to have nobody care about you. I help kids because I know what it feels like to be lied to by adults. I help kids because I know what it feels like to be left standing at the bus stop.

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