Teens see summer jobs as places to avoid gun violence

Published: Jun. 22, 2021 at 5:16 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - The Hope Initiative was designed to find jobs for kids growing up in at-risk communities in the city of Tuscaloosa.

Some teenagers benefiting from the program said it will allow them to leave home and be in safe environments as the city deals with several recent fatal shootings.

Bret’Khyia Edwards and Markaden Waller registered for summer jobs because they want to learn job skills in a safe environment.

“I think it’s very scary. Because sometimes people don’t even want to get out of the house just because people be shooting, especially me because I be up in the house,” Edwards said Friday.

These teens worry about some of the shootings that have happened in Tuscaloosa recently. They see the Hope Initiative as a safe way to enjoy their summer.

“The goal of the Westside Community Action Council and this project is to make sure that students are engaged in meaningful activities during the summertime, which leaves them less time to get into trouble and less time to be involved in things that are not positive in the community,” said Deletha Atmore, the program coordinator for the Westside Community Action Council.

Folks between 15 and 21 interviewed for more than 60 jobs throughout the city.

These two teenagers feel summer jobs give them better chances to avoid situations where people have witnessed or experienced gun violence.

“Yeah, it bothers me and I don’t like what’s going on cause it’s people as young as we getting hurt,” Waller added.

“I think it’s really good because if you’re here, you’re getting distracted from what’s going on outside. And you’re out of the way,” Edwards explained.

Teens will be working at those summer jobs until August 6.

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