Augusta, GA -
At Thursday's Help Harrisburg Annual Breakfast, there was plenty of grub -- but the focus wasn’t on the food.
“This is to help the children, because we need to focus on our kids,” said Pastor Charlotte Ginn, who helped organize the breakfast. “Get our kids to have an education and just be out of trouble.”
The breakfast kicked off a three month program, aimed at steering at-risk kids away from drugs and violence – and instead towards their goals.
Community activist Woody Merry headed up the event.
“We’re going to let these kids see it’s fun to have a career, and work, it’s something that you enjoy – as opposed to gang life,” said Merry.
Matt Paynter of Gold Cross EMS was also at the breakfast. Having worked in ambulances in Harrisburg for many years, he’s seen first-hand the devastating effects of drugs, violence and gangs.
“Kids having a focus, having some goals, a career to work towards, certainly helps them stay focused, on the right track,” he said.
“We plan to come out and show them what a career in EMS is.”
It’s this kind of leadership that mayoral candidate Helen Blocker Adams says is crucial to getting at-risk kids on the right track.
“One of the things about careers is the importance for our young people to mentor with people that are in career areas that they think would like to participate in, or be a part of,” she said.
In a troubled area like Harrisburg, leaders say having something to work towards will help turn the community around.
“Kids have to have something to look forward to,” said Augusta Commissioner William Fennoy. “Somebody once said there’s nothing wrong with a person not fulfilling a dream, but there’s something wrong with a person not have a dream to fulfill.”