Kathye Kelley
“I feel there is not enough for them to do. When I was growing up you had off-the-street clubs and we had a lot of things to do. I don’t understand the problem. Maybe it’s a lot of the young parents not taking of care of them, but I really think we need more programs.”

Doris Brandon
“I feel that there aren’t enough organizations, things we had when I was growing up like the YMCA. There is nothing for them anymore. They are getting more value from the street than from home. And of course, there are a lot of young parents who have left their training at home.”

Jenny Shields, editor of Katharsis In View
“I think we ought to keep a close eye on the children, whether it’s parents, teachers – just adults period. We don’t want to be detached from our future because there is no future without the youth. It needs to be translated from us into the youth. Just yesterday, I saw a baby crawl out onto a window sill. I ran across the street to grab the child but by that time, someone reached out the window and pulled the baby off the window sill. All eyes should be on the youth at all times – that is just one aspect. When you’re dealing with schools, parents should follow up. Maybe we should monitor truancy more in schools to show that we really care, and show the kids that it’s no way you can be hanging out past curfew. We need to get information into the community and let them know what is going on. There is a lot of events in the community that I feel children should be up on, from technology to health in the community. If you elevate their minds to something productive, maybe they can take it off the evils we can’t control.”

Jaymeson Hammonds
“My suggestion would be to find some place that they can have a positive influence, like the Boys and Girls Clubs or a community center like Eyes On Austin. They can get a positive influence from someone older who they respect and somebody they can listen to. A lot of times when young people hear someone telling them to stop doing drugs or stop using alcohol, they don’t respect that. But if they can go somewhere like the Boys and Girls club or some place they would like an get a positive influence from an older person or someone they respect, I think that would create a big impact on them.”

Rev. Dwight Gunn, pastor of Heritage International Christian Church
“Well, I have several ideas, but I think some of the most important things we can do is be inclusive and celebrate life. We have to do a better job of connecting with our youth on their level. We have to find a way to reach them on their level. There is a disconnect in the way we approach young people in today’s society. It has created a real lack of self-loyalty. They are searching for their own identity but we try to put them in our own boxes. I think that is a poor method of trying to reach them. If we improve that, I think we will get better results.”