Groups Partner to Help Youth

Meridian, Miss. Four Meridian organizations and businesses have come together to help enrich the lives of children in the community.

Team Norwood, The Purvis Clinic, Divas on the Run and Wal-Mart have formed a partnership to be able to donate bicycles to Camp Destiny and the Boys and Girls Club.

"You can look behind us and see how bright-eyed and bushy-tailed these kids are. They're very good kids," said District 4 supervisor, Joe Norwood. "So we're just trying to give some of these kids a handout and just make it possible, anything that we can do to better the lives of children and get them involved in fitness."

Norwood says everyone he called was more than happy to donate and help provide bikes for these kids.

"Since I'm an obstetrician, I probably delivered half of them, so it's a no-brainer," said Dr. Ronnye Purvis. "It's a way to exercise. It's a way to keep kids happy. And it's a way to contribute back to the community because they've been so good to me."

The kids will be able to use the bikes for transportation during the summer programs. And Camp Destiny has a system in place where the kids can earn the bikes to keep. They said one of the most important aspects is to be able to keep kids active.

"If you teach the children in sports and let them participate, the incidents of teenage pregnancy is lessened," said Felecia Brown of Divas on the Run. "The incident of criminal activity is lessened, so children need something to do that's positive."

Wal-Mart had the bikes available in great condition and first crafted the idea of giving them to kids in the area. Store manager Linda Clay said the looks on the kids' faces made all of their efforts worthwhile.

"Oh, wow, they were so excited. You know, they could not believe," said Clay. "They were asking, are you really going to give us a bike? Are we really going to get a bike? And you know, that really, really made me feel good."

The summer programs have already begun, and the kids should be able to start enjoying their bikes as soon as possible.