NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — Students at Gaskill Preparatory School on Friday explained why Project W.I.T.T. — which stands for ‘Wisdom In Troubled Times’ — was important to them.

The program is founded by Rev. Eugene Coplin, who encourages kids to speak positively to each other and to themselves. On Friday, students spoke about the difference learning this skill, and how to deal with emotions and gaining self-esteem made a difference in their lives. They say it helped them learn and love themselves.

The goal is to help children through their issues before they turn to anger and violence. Some students say the program has helped them deal with the violence in the community.

"The Wisdom In Troubled Times program has helped me cope with all the shootings and violence because lately I'm really scared to go anywhere,” a student said. “This program has helped me realize that there is more to this world than violence. It showed me that I should live life the best I can, and I can treat others with care and love because this program gives me the confidence and power just to do that.”

"You have to bring kids together, you have to listen to their voice, and then in an age-appropriate way, you have to give them the tools to have the answers and say the right thing, and then you have to give them an outlet to say something if something is not right,” Mark Laurrie, Niagara Falls School District superintendent, said. “And I think those are the three things this program did.”

The program is held in schools for a few months of the year, but now organizers are looking for funding to hold it for a whole year. Laurrie committed to the project over the summer, saying those five weeks are a challenging time because a lot of the structures and eyes on students go away.