Peer Mentoring Group Reaches Out to Influence the Community

By:Brittany Tonkin

brittany-tonkin@utc.edu

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/ The Loop)- The Brainerd High School Peer Mentoring Group addressed the Chattanooga City Council on April 5th with their concerns regarding safety at Coolidge park.

Alexis Moore, student and Vice President of the mentoring group, believes that a stricter curfew needs to be enforced at the park, due to the recent increase of violence after dark. By enforcing a stricter curfew Moore feels that gang violence will decrease and stop affecting those in her community and school.

Moore said, “I have personally lost loved ones due to the curfew not being enforced.” Alexis Moore Speaking

Display of City Ordinance in Coolidge Park

Moore was not alone in her concerns. Fellow mentors and classmates also addressed the Council with their concerns regarding community safety in the park ,such as requiring a search of each person upon the entrance to all events, requiring security at all teen parties hosted in the park, certifying the hired security and limiting “street gatherings.”

The students also addressed the Council with possible programs that could be enacted to reduce the number of teens participating in violence, such as reviving an old program that helps provide summer jobs for at risk teens and potentially incorporating a class in local high schools to educate teens about the risks of guns, violence, and gangs.

Jenelle Thom spoke to the Council to advocate an incorporation of gun, violence, and gang education in high schools throughout the area.Thom believes that changing the way teens think is the key to reducing violence.

Thom said, “It only takes one person or one thing to stop events like this.”

Councilman Russel Gilbert said that the Council will review the curfew and potential code changes in a future meeting.

Chattanooga Youths Voice Will Be Heard

By Bryson Simpson

Bryson-Simpson@mocs.utc.edu

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/TheLoop) — Brainerd High school Peer Mentoring Group is promoting change in the city. The Brainerd High schoolPeer Mentoring Group consists of 100 students, 40 of the students are mentors and the other 60 are mentees. Several members came to the city council meeting April 5 to speak on the problem that teens and kids are facing in Chattanooga. To see the agenda click here

The objective of Brainerd High school Peer Mentoring Group is to keep the teenagers and kids from doing negative activities in the streets of Chattanooga. They planned to do this by asking the City Council to toughen up on the curfew given to the Chattanooga youth.

Brainerd High school Students

Student Vice President, Alexis Moore, asked the council could they start cracking down and enforce the curfew so that children will be safe and stay out of trouble. She even asked the council for the curfew to be changed if violence doesn’t decrease. “We are asking the curfew to be earlier if the violence continues,” Moore said.

The Curfew now is 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, Children can play an hour longer on Friday and Saturday nights but “something needs to be done if the problem consists.” Janelle Tongue, who also represented the Mentoring Group, said, “ Even though we are teens we still have a voice.”

Brainerd High School Peer Mentoring Group also came up with some ideas that they will do to help keep kids off the streets and doing positive things for the community.

Cordell Paruchuii proposed the idea of having a “Summer Job for the Youth program” where they will take kids throughout the Chattanooga area and have them working at boys and girls clubs or summer camps. “Its something productive that the youth can do besides being in the streets.”

Another program that the Peer Mentoring Group proposed during the city council meeting was “Guns Anonymous” where people can donate guns and will not receive any punishment or be asked any questions. Also, Kellie Moore wanted the council to allow authorities to search people, especially minors. Listen to the Mentoring Peer Group  Brainerd High School City Council

In conclusion, the students showed leadership and courage by showing up to the city council meeting so that a positive change will happen in the community. Dominique Green, Brainerd High School Senior, said “We have to come together as a community   so we can have change.”

 

Peer Mentoring Group Converges To Clean Streets

By: Grahm Long

grahm-long@mocs.utc.edu

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) – The Brainerd High School Peer Mentoring Group met with the Chattanooga City Council on April 5 to present resolutions to safety issues at Coolidge Park.

Heightened attention comes shortly after a flash mob scene at the park three weeks ago, where more than 300 minors engaged in fighting and shooting. The incident eerily parallels what happened a year ago, when five people were shot. Although reports indicate no one sustained life threatening injuries, there is still concern among members of the community, particularly with Brainerd High School students, over potential future occurrences.

Alexis Moore, Brainerd High student and Vice President of the mentoring group, says that the recent increase of violence in the evening calls for a stricter curfew to be enforced at the park. Moore feels that by implementing a stricter code, it will help decrease the incidence of residential gang violence.

“I have personally lost loved ones due to the curfew not being enforced,” says Moore.

Among those with Moore at City Council, were fellow students and group members Dominique Green, Cordell Parachuri, Rodney Cameron, and Jennelle Thom.

Most of the ideas are about enforcing existing city code:

Code 25-2a, which imposes an 11 p.m. curfew for minors under the age of 16.  Code 25-2b, which holds parents accountable when minors under 16 break curfew.  And Code 25-1, which prevents congregating and obstructing traffic on city streets.

The new ordinance sign at Coolidge Park.

 

However, the students also have new ideas that promote safety for the park, such as employing individual security searches upon entry to events, security at all minority-hosted parties in the park and certification of hired security.

Other ideas consist of incorporating anti-violence or anti-gang violence education into local school’s curriculum and enacting a summer job program for at-risk teens.

Thom says that like her peers, she too has experienced losing friends and family to gun violence and believes that “it only takes one person or one thing to stop events like this.” Click here to listen to Jennelle Thom’s solution for gun control.

The City Council ordinance, which passed by a 7 to 2 vote margin in last Tuesday’s meeting, calls for the adult supervision of minors in Coolidge Park between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.