BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Tommy Manning and Darrel Jackson are the founders of the Ment-2-Fit Mentoring program.
“It’s something here that we don’t have to give these kids an opportunity to experience something that they don’t normally experience,” said Manning.
“It’s going to take the community to fix everything that’s going on in the community,” Jackson said.
The non-profit is focused on youth outreach in hot spots for crime, mainly in the 70805 zip code. The founders say they’re stepping up to help curb the violence in the capital city.
“When we grew up, we had the Boys and Girls Club, which is no longer here for us. We are trying to just come in and do what we can to provide a safe haven for them,” said Manning.
Programs like Guns Down, Gloves Up encourage teens to take up fitness rather than violence to help cope with anger. The two men have also teamed up with teachers and counselors to help provide tutoring and counseling services.
“We go to the schools, we go to the homes, so a lot of times, we’re doing the things that people don’t see because we got to check on these kids and make sure they’re doing good and make sure they’re doing their homework,” said Jackson.
Jackson says while they cannot completely stop violence from happening, they can provide resources that may help slow it down.
“We wanted to bring something to the inner city to stop telling the kids ‘don’t do this and don’t do that’ but actually give them something else, to be able to create an atmosphere for them where they can see that they can have something in their community, and they can enjoy themselves in their community besides killing each other and shooting each other and fighting,” said Jackson.
Both Jackson and Manning say it’s also going to take the entire community if to help win the fight against crime.
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