Speaker Addresses At-Risk Youth in Wheeling

Photo by Jessica Broverman Demetrius Navarro, left, director for the upcoming “Ticket to Nashville” musical at the Capitol Theatre, visits juvenile inmates at the Ronald C. Mulholland Juvenile Center in Wheeling on Wednesday with former Ohio County Sheriff Tom Burgoyne.

Two men leading the upcoming “Ticket to Nashville” musical at the Capitol Theatre told incarcerated youth at the Ronald C. Mulholland Juvenile Center in Wheeling Wednesday they can overcome any obstacle if they are willing to put in the work.

Demetrius Navarro, director of the show, which runs Sept. 22-24 at the historic downtown theater, visited the juvenile detention facility. With him was Kevin Dorsey, music director for the show — who has worked with artists such as Michael Jackson, Prince, Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Barbra Streisand — to share stories of their past before their success in the music industry.

“I was originally from Akron, Ohio, and was an orphan at birth. I was adopted at the age of 6 and it was the best thing that could have ever happened to me,” Dorsey said. “My parents saw that I had an interest in music at the age of 7 and now I play 13 instruments.”

He told the juveniles their actions have consequences.

“I have been around the world several times. No one tells me what to do, but you’ll always be told what to do in a four-cornered room,” Dorsey said. “You can’t see life in a four cornered room.”

Navarro spoke about the importance of choices and learning from one’s mistakes. He pointed to his brother and how they both made very different choices in life.

“My brother and I shared a room and had bunk beds. He is a beautiful person who ended up in prison for the rest of his life, while I am here talking to you guys,” Navarro said. “My brother got his girlfriend pregnant while he was in high school and he blamed everyone except himself. He was hanging out with the wrong people and went to prison.”

Former Ohio County Sheriff and FBI agent Tom Burgoyne, a Youth Services System board member, arranged the motivational message.

“No one gave these gentlemen a silver spoon. Demetrius had to work his entire life to reach his goals and Kevin was born with literally nothing and they are both in a great place in life,” Burgoyne told the juveniles. “You remember that when you lay your head on your pillow tonight.”

After several enthusiastic rounds of applause from the children, questions were taken and the crowd of over 20 children seemed to be thinking more about their future.

“I am good at rapping and dancing,” one of them said.

Navarro shared some words of advice with the child.

“The most successful people in this industry are those who have training,” he said. “You can join clubs at school or get free dance lessons locally. There are always opportunities out there that you can utilize.”