Town hall meeting hears children and parent concerns - - Jackson, MS

Town hall meeting hears children and parent concerns

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Operation Shoestring reaches out to local residents by hosting a town hall meeting with community leaders.

The non-profit organization hopes a dialogue will improve the quality of life in the inner city area.

Operation Shoestring held the meeting to allow residents to voice concerns about what's going on in their community.

A major issue for parents and children is not being able to play at nearby Jaycee Park.

"I stay right in front of the Jaycee Park and everyday you go out it's always something going on over there and it's supposed to be for the kids. But the adults took it over. The children really don't have no where to go," said parent Stephanie Carey.

"There is a lot of drug selling and gambling at the park and it's not right to kids, because my mom makes us leave the park when they sell drugs," said 12-year-old Rose Carey.

"We cannot play everyday. It's shooting, drugs and stuff. I would like to just clear the park for a couple of days," said Galloway Elementary student Charles Jones.

"People are selling drugs, and I don't like that in my community. So I want it to change," said 9-year-old J'ahn Hebert.

"We need to make sure our children are prepared to deal with those bumps," said Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson, Jr.

Johnson and  Hinds County Sheriff-Elect Tyrone Lewis were among the officials listening.

Representatives from the Jackson Police Department were also present and offered support.

Operation Shoestring's Youth Safe Haven Program is an after school mentoring program through Galloway Elementary School.

"We help them with their social, the emotional and anything that's going on in their home. Anything that they need we're there for them because we know that our students are having some issues with academics, if they're having issues at home," said Youth Safe Haven coordinator Emmitt Thomas.

The town hall meeting was also an opportunity for Precinct Three residents to address other issues, from break-ins to requesting speed bumps to slow traffic and more police presence.

Eddie Banks with the Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation in Washington D.C. spoke to the audience.

The foundation is funding the youth program which involves community and police interaction.

Those attending offer suggestions that organizers said will help formulate a plan with measurable solutions.

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