Cradle To Prison Campaign

By: Tametria Conner Email
By: Tametria Conner Email

It was a fun activity for youth, but the words of the song "Lean on Me," is sending a message to them and this community: leaning on and learning from each other is the way to keep the children of this community on the right track to success.

"We're trying to get the kids to understand that it's their choice. And it's either a positive choice or a negative choice," Children's Defense Fund Case Manager Layla Fitzgerald said.

About 100 youth gathered at the Meridian boys and girls club for a teen summit. Many kids say they don't have much to do in Meridian and it's easy to get into trouble. Many suggested more activity-based programs and a recreation center.

"Somewhere fun to go. The club is fun, but just having somewhere is the community will bring us back in, Teen Summit Participant Ronald Turner, II.

And that's what state representatives of the National Children's Defense Fund hope to help these parents, educators community leaders and anyone else with a vested interested in children accomplish...that's stop the cycle of cradle to prison.

It's a nationwide effort and coordinators say too many kids wind up in prison and more resources must be pumped into the children rather than the prison system.

"So it's a call to attention on the nation to say too many our children are falling through the cracks and what do we need to do to stop it, Children's Defense Fund-Southern Regional Director Oleta Fitzgerald said.

The kids' suggestions were brought to the adults at the conference. Coordinators are hoping to partner with existing organizations to get the reverse the cycle.

"What we are hoping will come out of these summits is that groups and community leaders and parents will come together and say what can we do in Meridian," Oleta Fitzgerald said.

At it won't stop here. A statewide summit is slated for November in Jackson. Also, National Children's Defense Fund Representatives plan to do a follow-up in Meridian next year.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by In Agreement Location: Meridian on Jun 16, 2009 at 07:57 AM
    Well said, FED UP!!!
  • by Anonymous on Jun 16, 2009 at 07:14 AM
    The child that was interviewed was from a prominent home with two parents who have leadership roles themselves in this community. How about giving the children who are truly reliant on the positive influence they may be getting while at boys and girls club a chance to speak out and develop their leadership skills by talking to the news reporters. Then this would be one more service boys and girls club would be doing for the many children in this area to grow. Many of these children look on wishing it could have been them. They know that a select group of children get to do everything and really desire the opportunities that others take for granted because they have adults who call on them everytime there is a open door. OPEN THE DOOR OF OPPORTUNITY FOR MORE CHILDREN who have the potential for succeeding, even though the odds seem to be against them. Then and only then will you be doing a true service for the children who do not have the advantages that a select group are given.
  • by FED UP Location: Mississippi on Jun 15, 2009 at 07:18 AM
    How about stopping the FREE handouts and make these PARENTS as well as these kids responsible for their actions. I have seen too many young teens begin illegal activities and NOTHING happens to them because they are misguided. They are rewarded for everything including having kids before they even graduate high school. They get government assistance for everything including the kids that they have as well as being on behavior meds. It is time for parents to take the responsibility for the kids they have produced. It is not the job of the working class to raise children for those who do nothing in the world except leech off society.
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