Ray Rover, who runs an after-school program in south Bibb County, said this summer will be a busy one for law enforcement if teenagers on break from school are not led away from trouble.
Theres three things that are working against us in Macon right now: godlessness, joblessness and idleness, Rover said. As children do, the later summer goes, by July theyll be sleeping all day and theyll be up all night and theyre going to run the Bibb sheriffs department crazy.
Rover works for Heritage of Houston at Houston United Methodist Church where he runs a tutoring and basketball program called Street to Success for about 45 children.
This week, there was a shooting less than a mile from the church.
A young man was killed, 25 years old, Rover said.
And the week before that, sheriffs deputies arrested an 18-year-old man for shooting a 32-year-old in the legs. That incident also happened less than a mile from the church.
On Thursday, community leaders gathered in the churchs gymnasium to prepare for a Saturday seminar for parents in the surrounding neighborhoods. Experts from different agencies will talk about gang resistance, drug prevention, sex trafficking, the Gospel of Christ and ancestral heritage.
Rover said about 800 fliers were sent out to addresses in south Macon advertising the Save Your Kids Life Rally, which will be held from noon-4 p.m.
A second seminar will be held in east Macon noon-4 p.m. June 7 at True Faith Church of God in Christ. About 1,500 fliers will be sent out before that event, Rover said.
When children are on summer vacation, crime goes up, said Lt. Mark Franks of the Bibb County Sheriffs Office. Franks is in charge of the gang unit and has 24 years with the sheriffs office.
We have significant gang activity that takes place in south Bibb County, Franks said. Home life, peer pressure, all kinds of factors drive them.
The sale of illegal drugs also may be attractive to young people who want to acquire things they otherwise wouldnt be able to acquire, Franks said.
Retired dentist Thomas Duval, who is speaking on local history, said he will encourage parents to pass down a sense of history to their kids.
He said hed like more people to know about William Sanders Scarborough, an African-American born a slave in Macon who became the president of a university in Ohio. Scarborough also was a Greek scholar.
The sad thing is most of our youth dont know this, he said.
Mercer University professor Tammy Crutchfield, who will discuss sex trafficking, said she is always shocked with how many children say they know someone who is a sex worker.
I want them to understand that any time a child is sold for the purposes of sex it is sex trafficking, she said. It happens in our neighborhoods, in our motels and sometimes in our families.
Pastor Dexter Maxwell, of Houston United Methodist Church, said he will advise parents who are having trouble with their children to direct them toward developing a relationship with God.
We believe that Gods word provides hope and answers to all our problems, especially for parents who are at their limit with the frustration of trying to raise and save their child from a destructive environment, Maxwell said.
For more information on the Save Your Kids Life Rally seminars in south or east Macon, call Ray Rover at 478-284-8463.
To contact writer Andres David Lopez, call 478-256-9751.