JANUARY 22, 2007 -- POSTED AT 9:00 P.M. CST, updated at 7:15 a.m. on 1/23/07
JONESBORO, AR -- Dozens of residents met at the Huntington Building in Jonesboro Monday night to address the needs of a growing number of problems in North Jonesboro. Some residents and businesses there are saying it's time for a change. A public forum was held as part of the H.O.P.E. Project, an organization that is funded through state grants in an effort to create changes that will improve the quality of life for residents in Jonesboro, particularly those on the north side.
Latoshia Woods is the co-director of the H.O.P.E. Project, a project designed by the Deliverance Family Worship Center in North Jonesboro. It's a group that's there to show those who live and work on the north side that there is a way to prosper and make their neighborhood a better place.
"Whether it be life skills, social skills, greater academic activities, cultural activities. All those type of enrichment activities that can enhance life in ways so that they can compete job wise," said Woods.
Tamara Moore, who lives in North Jonesboro, is hoping this group will show the children of their community that there is hope for a brighter future.
"You don't have to live on a lower level. You don't have to subject yourself to the standards that are around you. You have the power to transform your environment," said Moore.
And that's why they say they've decided to do something about the problems within their community. The safety of many of the neighborhoods within north Jonesboro is something residents are saying they hope remains a top priority with the city. Reverend Charles Coleman has lived on Fisher Street in for 17 years now and says his community started a neighborhood watch program 10 years ago to help address the crime problem.
"It takes the citizens plus the officers to get involved, but I think that we need more of what I call walking officers because it's like any crime, once the police show up, stuff has already happened," says Rev. Coleman.
And that's just another example of an active approach to addressing the economic and residential needs of north Jonesboro.
"Without so much of having their hand out, but saying that we're here, we're ready to help, we're ready to work and we're ready to labor with," says Moore.
And it all can begin with the simple desire for a change and people with the right mindset to make it happen.