Archive for the ‘Youth’ Category

Stop the Violence Press Conference

May 5, 2010

Please join me, Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway, Rickey Smiley, Tom Joyner, District Attorney Craig Watkins, and local religious and community leaders today for a Stop the Violence press conference.  We are trying to shed light on a continuing problem in Dallas, and an announcement will be made towards that goal.

Time: 2pm
Location: Dallas City Hall, 6th Floor Flag Room

We hope to see you there.

Deion Sanders Prime Time Sports Center is Moving Forward

June 19, 2009

City Council just approved the Prime Time Association football park sponsored by Deion Sanders and led at the city by Dwaine Caraway.

This is a brand new football facility coming to Oak Cliff! This is the same center that I wrote about a few months back. One block at a time, this city will be transformed.

Prime Time Reaches Back to Help Youth

March 21, 2009

Deion Sanders has a dream for kids south of Trinity River

That headline says it all; I’m really excited about this project. I’ve been wanting to write about it, but wanted to hold off until it went public.

I’m glad that Deion and his PrimeTime Sports Association is interested in investing and partnering with the city to improve the lives of youth. When we walked the field and looked at the plans, you could really see it come together. Dallas is a can-do city, and the difference now is that this project did not end up in the suburbs.

Usually, the business people are ready and the city drags everything out; but things have changed. That’s due to the leadership of our Deputy Mayor Dwaine Caraway and Mayor Leppert whose goal is to make sure that deals get done instead of twiddling our thumbs and watching the surrounding cities benefit from our inaction.

For those of you that aren’t sure of the location, it’s the open park that’s next to Carter High School and across from the Friendship West parking lot.

Come to the tryouts at the Cotton Bowl – we will be there!

Tragedy among Teens

March 8, 2009

Stomp Wars went well, somewhere between 5-6,000 kids attended the event at the convention center arena with zero incidents.

The whole time, my mind kept drifting back to this story.

Friends, family grieve for girls killed in crash

These three Adamson High School teens died in a car accident near I-45 and Loop 12 in Oak Cliff.

Rosario Filemon – 16
Liliana “Lily” Reynoso – 15
Miriam Ramirez – 16

This reminds me of a time when I was 15 in the 10th grade. Just following my friends and not giving it much thought, we got out of school and I piled into a car with my buddies. There were maybe 6-7 of us in a little car. I think we were going to cruise around and hang out at the park.

Out of nowhere my Dad opens the car door, says nothing to the driver and reaches in the back seat area and pulls me out. Then we had a good father-son talk about making good decisions. I think the whole school was laughing at me that day. It took weeks to live that down, but I lived. And I’m grateful that my Dad was there to put the brakes on me being somewhere I didn’t need to be.

I saw the video below. It looks like it was created by a friend of the kids that died on Friday. I can appreciate a teenager’s way of positively dealing with their grief the best way they can.

May you all rest in peace. May your families and friends learn to deal with this tragedy as life goes on.

It’s Lunch Time, Do You Know Where Your Children Are?

February 2, 2009

I’m glad the juvenile curfew ordinance is being reviewed by City Council’s Public Safety Committee and will likely be strengthened. According to news reports, juveniles made up more than 20% of the burglary arrests in Dallas last year.

Here are the facts:

  • 2008 Juvenile Arrests for Burglary: 187.
  • 2008 Adult Arrests for Burglary: 868.
  • Juveniles made up 22% of all Burglary arrests in the city in 2008.
  • Of those 187 arrests, 63% occurred during school hours during the week.

Juvenile curfew needs to be strengthened and enforced. While some parents aren’t aware of their kids activities, some parents need to shake the “it’s not my baby” syndrome and face facts. Well, your baby is breaking into houses and acting up while you’re at work.

It’s just like the voice-over insert that Dwaine helped to bring back to Channel 8 news when they say, “it’s 10 o’clock, do you know where your children are?” Maybe for some parents, they should ask themselves that same question at 10 AM as well.

It may sound harsh, but the responsibility for the delinquents needs to be shifted back to the parents instead of society. It’s a small percentage of kids, but they’re causing a good share of the crime during the day.

We Need more like Pete Carroll

December 14, 2008

This is a great piece that aired on 60 Minutes tonight about USC football coach Pete Carroll.

Of course we know that Carroll is a hugely successful college coach, but his calling also includes a crusade to positively affect the lives of inner-city youth.

To me, this is the type of involvement I like to see. The one-day sports camps that you often see in DFW are OK, but then the kids go back to their regular lives. Kudos to Pete Carroll for putting together a sustained program that will truly impact the lives and outlook of the youth in his city.

Check out “A Different Kind Of Coach.”

Watch CBS Videos Online

Scholarships and Model Training for Young Girls

November 28, 2008

This is from my buddy Keisha Howard at P.E.A.R.L. (Poised, Elegant, and Responsible Leaders). P.E.A.R.L. provides self-esteem enhancing programs for girls ages 7-17 include etiquette, life-skills, and modeling:

P.E.A.R.L. Girls is hosting a Winter Wonderland Fashion Show at the Valley View Mall on Saturday, December 20th. We are seeking fabulous girls (ages 7-17) to star in it!

Register now for the “Top Models with Manners: Winter Boot Camp.” You will learn formal and dining etiquette, social graces, and “self-esteem modeling” techniques. Then, star in the Winter Wonderland Fashion Show!

This is an excellent “polishing” class for previous P.E.A.R.L. Girls and a great starter course for girls who are new to the P.E.A.R.L. Girls organization.

Classes will be held December 6th and 13th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Valley View Mall.

Inner-Beauty Scholarship Contest

P.E.A.R.L. is also accepting applications for the 2009 Miss P.E.A.R.L. of Dallas Inner-Beauty Scholarship Pageant. This is a great opportunity for DFW High School juniors and seniors to earn scholarships for college!

Scholarship deadline is January 16, 2009.
link to scholarship flyer

Thank You Hill Harper

August 11, 2008

On Saturday, Hill Harper joined Joyce Ann Brown to talk to over a hundred youth about his new book entitled Letters to a Young Sister: DeFINE Your Destiny. Within the book, Hill has encouragement and advice for young ladies from prominent women on a wide range of topics. The book hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list earlier this year, and Dallas is one stop on the nationwide tour.

Dwaine bought 50 books to give out to the young ladies. Others also purchased books, and Hill took time to sign them all. Steve Pickett hosted the event, which took place at Concord Missionary Baptist Church (my church!).

This isn’t the first time Hill has done such an event in Dallas. A couple of years back, my wife and I attended an event which was held when he published Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny; this book was similar except it was geared towards young men. The event was held at a private home in Oak Cliff, and he was trying to get people to buy books in bulk to give to kids.

Hill is one of those extraordinary people who isn’t satisfied with being a Hollywood star on CSI:NY and countless movies. Maybe at some point he can come back and do a Teen Summit. Kudos to him for realizing that life goes beyond what you have and is measured by what you can do for others.

The Youth Crime Reduction Summit

July 22, 2008

On Monday, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson held her 2nd annual Youth Crime Reduction Summit. It took place at the Park South Y in South Dallas.

There were a series of panels and question and answer sessions. The first panel featured Captain Sheila Carter-Bass of the Dallas County Sheriff’s office, Omar Jahwar, founder of Vision Regeneration, an organization that provides counseling and mentoring services to four Dallas public schools; founding CEO of Mothers Against Teen Violence Joy Strickland; and Detective Monty Moncibais of the Dallas Police.

I’m glad I got to meet Ms. Strickland. While I didn’t know him, I attended Morehouse at the same time that her son, fellow Morehouse student Charles “Chris” Lewis was killed. We lost several Morehouse Men during the time that I attended college to gun violence. I can think of at least four including Darnell “Smitty” Smith, a friend of mine from Atlantic City who was robbed, shot, and killed during the summer of 1995. Smitty had two or three more classes to go before he could graduate.

After the first panel
, a stirring play was performed by teens advocating the ending of the cycle of teen violence.

You have to appreciate the value of a congresswoman that comes back to her district and skips vacation and immediately gets to work. As you know, last weekend she held a summit on DNA wrongful convictions that commanded national attention.

While I had to leave to prepare for a multi-neighborhood meeting, I appreciate my congresswoman for realizing that she is needed in her district as much as she is needed in Washington DC.

Teen Summit on the Road to H-Town and beyond, and My Fave Five

June 1, 2008

The Journey

As you probably know, Deputy Mayor Dwaine Caraway took more than 150 kids on the road on Saturday. It was literally a 24-hour trip, and it was worth it.

With the help of many on city staff, chaperons, and some generous individuals, the kids were able to visit Houston and Galveston. The cost to the kids: nothing.

We left in the wee hours on Saturday, six buses deep, headed for the NASA Space Center.

We took the tram and did a full tour of the Space Center. Afterwards we got lunch then headed to Galveston to check out Moody Gardens, a Gaylord Texan-like center with a lot of different things going on. We went through the aquarium and the rain forest. We also stopped to eat before heading to the campus of Texas Southern. We had to cut our time short, but we promised the parents to get the kids back to Dallas within a certain time frame.

Any trip will have some glitches, but this was a very successful trip. I knew that I would not have “fun” on the trip, and I didn’t desire to because it was all about the kids having a great time.

My Fave Five

The one thing that worked well was keeping my group together. I called my group my “Fave Five,” like the T-mobile commercial. One, because I knew they would remember that. I was proud as they huddled up like an NBA team and talked about what they would do next. And I love the fact that they took pictures of everything (free disposable cameras were provided so the kids could take pictures).

There were tons of kids at Moody Gardens (some on our trip and some not). I am so proud of my Fave Five for looking out for each other. I am awed by the kids’ questions, their curiosity, and their level of appreciation. Tony, John, Angel, Malik, and Dominique are five young men that will stay in my heart for a long time.

Janet Morrison’s camera is way better than mine, so I “borrowed” a couple of her photos for this post.

The Naysayers and Haters

What I didn’t understand (and still don’t) that thought that this trip was some sort of publicity ploy. They ask questions like, “what can be accomplished by a one-day trip?” People like that, I can’t listen to anymore.

What kind of goal can a kid desire after this one-day trip? A goal to go out of town to college…a goal to be a part of the NASA space program or pursue interests in science that they never knew they had. I’m living proof that such programs, which may seem innocuous on the surface, can pique interests in youth than can change their lives. Life is doubly hard for kids that want to “make it.”

How many of my childhood friends do I have that are dead or in jail because no one gave a darn enough to talk to them or take them out of our ‘hood before they took a risk that ended their lives? Too many to count; that’s what is trying to be avoided. Many of these kids have been to multiple teen summits and I have watched them grow. One kid on our bus keeps his report card folded up in his wallet and was proud to show off his straight A’s and B’s. He told me he wanted to go to Morehouse, a wise choice!

No one person has the answer, and in reality all hands are needed on deck with the challenges that are being faced by today’s youth.

I will never forget this trip, and I will never forget about these kids. I hope to watch them continue to flourish and become the leaders that I know they can become.

Vanessa (one of the kids from the trip) and Janet put together a online photo/music album. Check it out: