LOUISVILLE, Ky. — JCPS mental health professionals say some students are slipping through the cracks. Senior Fern Creek football player Seantez Townes said he was almost one of those kids, until he got help from mental health practitioner Chip Cosby.
Early in high school, while at Valley, Townes got into trouble, ending up in alternative school at Minor Daniels.
"I was just not feeling anything and I just went to school and did anything I wanted to do," he said.
There, he met Chip Cosby. Cosby was working with another student at Minor Daniels, preparing him to adjust to a traditional classroom, when Townes approached him with a question.
"'Will you work with me' and that made an impression on me," Cosby said. "This kid gets it, he understand what its all about and that immediately made me see the potential in him."
Cosby told Seantez he would work with him, if he put in the work and got the grades to leave Minor Daniels. Townes tackled the mission head on, getting out of Minor Daniels and into Fern Creek, where he wanted to play football.
Townes said on the field, he really started to improve his life.
"It's helped me stay disciplined, kind of reminds me of life, if you play the game," he said.
Football, and Chip Cosby, turned out to be exactly what he needed.
"Being a strong man, because sometimes it takes a man to show a young man the way," Townes' mom, Freelisha Ingram, said of Cosby.
Cosby said Townes isn't alone. The pandemic made even more work for around 130 mental health practitioners at JCPS, managing new kids dealing with behavior issues.
"A lot of these kids were taken out of their element and a lot of them are in difficult home situations and they were better off being in school," Cosby said.
Down the line, those very kids could have a new mentor in Townes.
"Kids that's coming up after me, I'll show them better ways to go in life," Townes said. “Just believe in themselves, and there’s success if you work hard.”
Ingram said her son has faced the worst, only to come up swinging, thanks to a helping hand and a willingness to be part of a team.
"Seantez has dodged bullets, those little friends that were meeting him after his practice, they're gone now," she said. "I believe God sent you to my son."
Townes said his goals now are mentoring younger students at Fern Creek and playing college football.