KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A fatal shooting in Knoxville involving two teenagers, has local organizations stressing the importance of community youth outreach.
“Anytime there’s violence in our city, specifically amongst young people, that is devastating,” John Crooks, director of communications for Emerald Youth Foundation, said.
The Emerald Youth Foundation is just one of many organizations that works to help steer youth in the right direction.
“Those teenage years are so critical. It’s important because there’s so much pressure today, whether it’s from peer pressure, social media, bullying, all those things going on. We just want to be there as a resource and to be proactive and help families and help young people in our city grow in to successful young leaders,” Crooks said.
Tragedies like these happen more often than we know. It’s one of the reasons why 100 Black Men of Greater Knoxville starts their mentorship programs as early as the 5th grade.
“We keep them focused on the future. We let them know that when you’re in a group, you’re a leader, not a follower. We help them plan goals and we teach them basic skills and we serve as a trusted partner for them,” Chris Beatty, 100 Black Men president, said.
The resources are here and available, but these community leaders say the real work starts at home.
“To the parents and guardians of these young people — speak to them. Not only speak, but listen. You don’t always have to like everything that you hear coming back at you, but you need to listen to it and you need to come together and figure out how to address those things,” Beatty said.