PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Learning how to become a good man. That was the lesson guest speakers tried to teach about 150 boys at a Police Athletic League event Wednesday night.

Navigating adolescence to adulthood is hard enough. Factor in growing up in poverty with parents who aren’t always there, and boys in Philadelphia can feel like the deck is stacked against them.

Speakers told them to never quit until you win. 17-year-old Tymere Grant was listening closely.

(credit: Mike Dougherty)

“He said people are always trying to downgrade you,” Grant said. “Don’t worry about what they say. Work on your craft, be good.”

Officer Donyell Thomas with PAL says it’s important for the boys to hear success stories from people in circumstances similar to their own.

“No matter what, whatever particular situation you’ve been though, you can get though those hurdles,” Thomas said. “You can strive to be a great man.”