Youth Outreach/Crime Fighting Initiatives

Some grassroots efforts are being made in hopes of curbing youth crime in Meridian. One of those efforts involves a local fraternity.

The Meridian Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity is reaching out to boys of all of ages to teach them how to best resolve conflicts.

In response to the spike in youth crimes in recent months, the group is sponsoring its first-ever seminar on the subject this Saturday.

"We felt the need to reach our young people in a different way," says Phi Beta Sigma member Darius Ewing. "Instead of chastising them and whipping them all the time, we need to whip them and encourage them with a little love and teach them how to do things a different way."

As part of the free seminar, experts from the judicial, ministerial, mental and physical health professions will take part.

Then there's the Meridian based Youth Excitement Team (YET) which has a new program called the Peace Project. It's a new character education program that's open to three- and four-year-old children during the summer and after school.

"We teach them what love is all about and to share with their classmates because some of them don't have what the others have," says Sandra Moore, who is the preschool teacher/manager for the Youth Excitement Team. "So, we teach them to love and to share and to be kind to others."

"You have young parents who are teens; they have to grow up quite early and often their kids are not obtaining those skill sets that they need," says YET President, the Rev. Gary Houston.

As part of the Peace Project, parents are required to get involved.

"YET is our team and the parents. We're the cheerleaders, and we try to make sure that the students cross the line academically, socially, just all the way around," says YET Parent Advisory Council President, Rillinda Windham.

"The Bible says if you sow seeds, it's going to come up," says Houston. "So, if you sow the seeds of honesty, respect, and integrity, it's going to come up."

Registration for the YET Peace Project is going on now. For more information call the Youth Excitement Team at (601) 693-0712. The Conflict Resolution Seminar will be held Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Council of Organizations Building, 45th Avenue and 8th Street in Meridian. It's free. Boys of all ages are welcome to attend.