Summit held to improve lives of Jacksonville youths

Published On: Aug 06 2014 07:52:28 AM EDT
Updated On: Jun 15 2014 07:47:37 PM EDT

VIDEO: The local organization SOS held a week-long effort aimed at guiding young people in Jacksonville down the right path.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Operation Save Our Sons held a week-long event aimed at improving the community and guiding young people in Jacksonville down the right path.

Young people at the summit said it's not always easy to make the right decisions. They said they see guns and drugs in the community and they want change, too.

"(There are) people being killed," said 12-year-old Charles Francis. "I watch the news everyday and I do want to be one of them."

The summit partnered with law enforcement and taught kids mistakes don't have to be permanent and defining. It also taught community members that it's everyone's responsibility to make sure young people make the right choices.

Young people like Cole Pickett, 17, said they learned important life-lessons and they want to share that knowledge with others.

"I see my whole life different now," said Pickett. "I see how to take the right road and how to be my own person."

Other community advocates attended the event and said the operation is making a difference.

"I've seen their enthusiasm their willingness to learn to be apart to be informed and to just encourage each other," said Bursey Armstrong, an advocate at the event.

Parents learned what resources are available to them and some parents also want to be involved in helping.

"The first thing we have to do is we have to start giving them love. We have to show them appreciation," said Abner Davis, an attendee of the summit. "We have to let them know that we respect them and that we love the same way we love our own children."

Many people, like Pastor John Guns, are now hoping for a brighter future.

"Schools becoming better, neighborhoods become better, the city becomes better," said Guns.

Click for future events and more information on Operation Save Our Sons

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