Burke County B.R.I.D.G.E. Program encourages youth to end gun violence


Building Responsible Individuals Developing Greater Examples, or “B.R.I.D.G.E.,” hosted a Summer Symposium to encourage teens to end gun violence.

Burke County’s Juvenile Judge, Douglas Flanagan, spoke to teens about how to report an incident and stay out of trouble.

Beyond Judge Flanagan, the Sheriff’s Department, the Prosecutor’s Office, Paine College, and others talked to these kids on how to stay on track for a positive future.

One of the teens who attended the Symposium, Keveunta Wright, says, “you know it helped me just by taking a step that I never took before.”

He is bridging the gap for a better tomorrow.

Founder of B.R.I.D.G.E., Kenya F. Sullivan Crumbley, says, “this event right here sparked from a murder that took place in Waynesboro and also something that took place in Magnolia Acres.”

Crumbley noticed a spike in gun violence within the youth community.

“So, our hashtag today is #TeamEffort, to come together to make things happen through an initiative to come up with ways to be productive in ending gun violence and gun violence in our streets,” says Crumbley.

For another teen at the Symposium, Tyryon Tarver, he believes violence stems from misunderstanding.

“They just fear the world. They don’t understand the world and they can’t adapt to the world yet, so they just think they need a gun,” says Tarver.

Judge Flanagan is a part of the #TeamEffort, and Crumbley is gateful to have him on board.

“To have him here today and be able to talk to our youth, that means the world to us,” says Crumbley.

Judge Flanagan says, “you try to make a difference. You know we have adults and instead of talking to children, BRIDGE tries to partner with children, educate them, and let them know first of all ‘hey as a teenager, we respect you, and you are important.”

He says it all begins with open communication at home, and parents need to see what their kids are up to, as well as find out what’s important to them.

The kids who attended told NewsChannel 6 that they believe in a bright future.

“We don’t need guns because all guns cause is chaos and we don’t need that as a community, all we need is peace,” says Tarver.

Wright says, “it kind of changed the way I see things. I don’t need to result to violence just to solve a problem.”

This event was just a part of B.RI.D.G.E.’s Summer Symposium. They also have a team building and leadership workshop where they kids have the opportunity to go to Georgia’s capital.

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