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Youth receive positive message
Charlie Brown, a former wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons, stands between Youth Week participants Wendy Sanjuan (left) and Wendy McElroy. - photo by Photo by John Deike
While worries mount concerning the misdirection of youth in the area, Christ the Rock initiated Youth Week to lead youth toward a more positive path.
Darlene Jackson, an elder of Christ the Rock, stood at the forefront of the program after her 19-year-old son was mistakenly gunned down in the cross fire of a gun fight three months ago.
“When my son was killed, I was devastated, and I asked God what I could do to prevent another mother from bearing the loss of a child,” she said. “After much prayer, I helped create Youth Week, which will help refocus kids by getting them to stray from negative influential factors.”  
Youth week culminated May 21 at the Shuman Recreation Center with motivational speakers preaching about the good outcomes of being a responsible person.
The speakers included Hinesville Police Det. Doug Snider who warned the audience about the dangers of drugs and gang activity, and how making friends with the wrong people can harm one’s aptitudes.
Two of the featured speakers were ex-NFL players, Charlie Brown and Fred Stokes, who delivered advice they derived from the hindsight of positive and negative experiences.
Stokes explained the travails of drug use, and how it can hinder success, instead of help it.
“For the most part, (the youth) are here with an open attitude,” Deacon Michael Mata said. “They have a look of sincerity, and they are asking, ‘Where can you take me today?’ And, hopefully, we can lead them to a path of success.”
Jackson said under certain circumstances, children’s actions can hurt an area, but with a positive focus, they can benefit the community if they can facilitate a future built on higher fundamentals.
“I think my future can be a good one, and it scares me to think my actions, or the actions of my friends could really hurt other people. I’d rather help them,” said Charlie King, 12, who attended the event.
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