By Ben Wolf
Monday, November 27, 2006
Students walking the halls at J. L. Newbern Middle School say they feel the same thing every day.
"Peer pressure. It's a lot of people telling us to do things that we know is bad, but they still do them," said 8th grade student Lachristi Hunter.
Kids as young as 12 and 13 are dealing with adult issues and they often have no one to turn to.
"They fight a lot, gangs and all that. They get in trouble at school," said 8th grader Jarquez Samuel.
"Yeah, I have had a lot of friends who have been pregnant or raped," added 7th grader Qushondra Foster.
The local Commission for Children and Youth is starting the 'Right Track' program. It's a three headed approach focusing on academics, social life, and parenting that will use more than $87,000 in grant funding.
The program is just gearing up, but organizers have some serious goals.
"I would like to see them graduate from school on time. I would like to see them avoid substance abuse and poor peer relationships," said program director Ceila Mitchell.
And there is some good news already. Kids seem to think this educational program has a chance at working.
"If you don't got your education, then you got nothing, so I think it's a good approach," said Foster.
With everyone buying into the program, that peer pressure might just be relieved.
For information on how to volunteer for the "Right Track" program, call 229-293-6398.