Season 3

Episode 323: “At Risk”

Episode 323: “At Risk”
Original Air Date:April 27, 1997
Written by:: Kathleen McGhee-Anderson
Directed by:Victor Lobl
Produced by:

Martha Williamson
Jon Andersen
R.J. Visciglia, Jr.

Guest Cast:
Jason DeLee Vicellous Reon Shannon
Waters J.A. Preston
Anita Camryn Manheim
Lena DeLee  Rhonda Stubbins White 
Reynaldo Estes  Michael Pena
JoBeth  Nina Girvetz

This episode is introduced and closed by General Colin Powell, U.S. Army (ret.), who served as General Chairman of the Presidents’ Summit on America’s Future, which was held in Philadelphia April 27-29, 1997 and aimed to bring America to a new level of commitment in volunteerism.

Jason DeLee, a troubled teen, steals a car but is promptly caught by the police. His mother, Lena can no longer deal with her son and releases her parental authority. Jason is placed in the custody of Denver Juvenile Services. Waters, the camp director, runs a tight ship and is taken aback when Tess arrives, announcing she is a new facility director and will be overseeing a new experimental work program. After the boys complete a survey, Monica, the coordinator for the work program arrives. A handful of the teens volunteer for the program; Jason is not one of them. Later that day, Lena visits Jason in Tess’ office. He is discouraged when his mother says she just came to bring him some underwear and car magazines. The angel informs them that Monica has selected him for the work program, and Lena urges her son to take whatever chance they give him. He just glares at them and exits. When he finds out that Rey Estes, his rival, has volunteered for the program, Jason decides to participate in it, too. Andrew, a Juvenile Services volunteer, drives the boys to their destination–the Linwood Children’s Academy, a school for disabled children. Inside, Jason is paired with Kelly, a girl with cerebral palsy. Her mother, Anita has reservations about a “gang banger” working with her daughter.

Jason is reluctant to bond with Kelly until Monica shows him that the girl shares his love of cars. Despite a few false starts, the two are able to forge a relationship. But Jason eventually panics and runs away. Waters wants to send the police after the boy, but Tess convinces him to wait. Monica, prompted by a Ferrari photo on Kelly’s gait walker, finds him at an import car dealership. She reveals herself, urging him to stop trying to outrun God. Jason returns to the school, where Anita, Lena, and the angels revel in his progress with Kelly.

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