Teens share ideas on making Columbia safer, more engaging

sellis@thestate.comMay 27, 2014 

As Midlands area children and teens look forward to carefree summer days in the coming weeks, the Columbia Urban League wants to find ways the city can help keep them safe.

Teens sounded off on what they think will make the community safer and more engaging for youth at Tuesday’s Stop the Violence Teen Think Tank. With help from the University of South Carolina’s Institute from Families in Society, the Urban League wants to turn the teens’ input into practical strategies to improve the community. Here are some of their suggestions:

Elijah Frederick, 19, Richland Northeast High senior: “I think the problem with our youth is there’s not enough mentorship within the community. A lot of our youth have trouble with their parents. They might go out to the streets to do whatever. But I think the proper mentorship programs, such as the Urban League, can give them a chance to grow and become mature adults.”

Jazmyne Diggs, 16, Dutch Fork High junior: “I think there isn’t enough communication between teenagers. The reason why teenagers do some of the stuff they do is because nobody likes to talk to them. (We can fix that by) having meetings like this and getting their input on what they think we should do throughout the community.”

Morgan Bunch, 15, A.C. Flora High sophomore: “Teens think that the only way they can have fun is to go out and party with their friends and everything like that. But ...you can have different ways to have fun. So I think that programs like this that are going on at LRADAC have helped out with the community already.”

Trent Robinson, 16, Ridge View High junior: “I’ve noticed a lot of things with guns and things with teens getting shot at when they don’t even mean to do it. ...We need better activities to do instead of going to parties and stuff. I know a lot of sports will keep people out of trouble, and doing things in the neighborhood, some community service sometimes to give back to the community.”

Reach Ellis at (8030 771-8307.

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