BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) – Churches, local law enforcement and other agencies are trying to prevent the violence in Blytheville through a four-day youth camp at God's Holy Temple church.
Bishop Randy Crenshaw says the key to keep adults from harming each other is to teach people while they are young and make them understand the consequences and find other alternatives to violence.
While police still investigate the latest apparent homicide in Blytheville; Across town "Stop the Violence" is the theme of a youth orientated program to show kids a different path.
10 year old Stanesha Faulkner says she feels pretty safe in Blytheville, "I live in a neighborhood where it's not violent or stuff and kids can really play." On the other hand Yvette Guyton says teens just sit around her neighborhood with nothing to do.
Guyton, "And they're sitting around, they tend to watch your house and when you leave you are almost afraid to come back home because you think they may have already visited your house."
Faulkner agrees. "Some areas you wouldn't want to be in."
According to the Blytheville Police Department, 2011 has had 7 non critical shootings and 3 homicides.
'Stop the Violence' is a day camp hosted by the "god's holy temple" church.
Campers learned about health, drug awareness,domestic and gang violence and other topics. Other participants included The Haven, BPD and the BFD and others. Organizer, Bishop Randy Crenshaw says this is information the kids can use everyday.
Crenshaw, "They can go back out and it can be preventative maintenance for their life to help them steer away from violence and things that will cause them problems in the future."
Sergeant Vanessa Stewart of the Blytheville Police Department spoke to the kids on Thursday. "Violence toward kids is a concern, but now more adults are stepping up."
Stewart, "It takes a village to raise a child. We haven't had a lot of parents speaking out to other kids other than their own child. Now we have other people acting as mentors."
Mother of 8, Yvette Guyton, says no child is too young to be shown the right path. "Train up a child in the way they should grow.And when they are older they will not depart from it. You have to teach them young."
Faulkner, "You can work it out with your parents, or to someone close to your or your best friends or a counselor at your school."
Bishop Crenshaw's wife, Sandra says the lessons learned at the church will hopefully not stop at the door.
Crenshaw, "We are hoping that they are learning something here and that they are taught the same at their homes."
Bishop Crenshaw says there are many programs in Blytheville to help kids, all with the same goal.
Crenshaw, "We want to relate to children that their are better ways, better things to be involved in besides violence. When someone kills someone they have to go before the law of the land. You may lose the remainder of your time for that life you have taken or you may lose your own life in that gun battle."