Youth Violence in Memphis

Growing up in the city of Memphis, I have seen first-hand the turmoil caused by violence among our youth. I grew up in a tough neighborhood in Memphis, but I was provided an education in a better, or a more non-violent, part of town than where I resided.  I am only saying this to say that your community does not indefinitely reflect the person you are to become. I was lucky enough to have support from family and friends to push me in the right direction. It seems everywhere I turn I am reminded and saddened by lack of positivity influencing the upbringing of our future generations today. As of about a week ago, residents of Memphis are now watching over their shoulder at the grocery stores.  Though the city’s crime-rate may have decreased over the years, the day to day crimes acted out by the city’s youth still make me weary.

When I start thinking of ways to get the youth more involved in a positive way, I think about the community centers and programs specifically for our youth. Today I don’t think there are many. We have after school care programs, but I feel as if that only helps a little when it comes to pre-teens. Teenagers, or high school children, are typically more independent.  In the case of young adults, ages 18 and older, they exercise free-will, and we hope for the best. According to an article in the Memphis Flyer, “58 of the 119 lives that fell victim to homicide in Memphis this year were between the ages of 18 and 34.” Recently there was a meeting called the Youth Violence Prevention Forum held at the Benjamin L. Hooks Library to brainstorm ideas to help reduce the violence among the youth in the city and find better ways for them to spend their time. Among others ideas, creating a database to share info on the services and ways that the youth could benefit from was discussed.

I haven’t had much experience, as I am only 23 years old, but I am of the young population in Memphis. I feel as if there is nothing to do in the area to keep our youth involved. Schools are losing funding for programs that interest the kids, such as music and art. There aren’t many fun activities to take the place of mischief and they go looking for things to do, which leads to trouble. There are not many places that cater to the younger crowd. Memphis didn’t have too many options to begin with, but the closing of Libertyland and Jillian’s, the game place that was downtown, didn’t help. As the city officials try to build up downtown and other areas, I hope they incorporate something for people of a younger age. I’m sure they get tired of movies every weekend and roaming downtown until they can’t anymore.

First and foremost, let me say I believe parents should play the main role in searching for ways to decrease the violence of our youth, starting with ways to help your child advance. My parents always kept track of where I was and who I was with. That seems like a foreign concept now. Home training starts at home with the guardians. The police can only pick them up after something happens. But to prevent violence, which is my whole point, I believe the support and guidance of our communities can make all the difference.

Link to article in Memphis Flyer:

http://www.memphisflyer.com/memphis/forum-explores-youth-violence-prevention-methods/Content?oid=3741307

 

187 thoughts on “Youth Violence in Memphis

  1. I loved reading this post! I completely agree with the need for youth programs. However, have you ever heard of Streets Ministries or MAM? Those are two Non-Profits locally that offer after-school programs for teens and high schoolers to keep them out of trouble and off the streets between the high crime hours and late into the night. They have tutoring programs, mentors, bible studies, open gym, etc. They are doing great things through both of those organizations, however Memphis is such a large city that we can’t rely on two locations to foster and care for each child after school. I do agree that we need more of these programs and it’s been proof that they work in the small areas they’ve been able to reach thus far.

  2. This was a joy to read! I was not raised in Memphis, but in Collierville. Living in a suburb forms a negative conception of Memphis, and it’s sad. I have now lived off campus, in Memphis for a year and a half and my outlook has changed completely. I love this city, and will always support any positive changes within. I agree that the source of most problems and solutions begin in the home. Unfortunately, parents like mine, who knew who I was with and where I was all of the time can, can’t just go into homes and give parenting seminars. Every household is different, but you can only hope there are positive outlets outside of the household. Maybe the kids aren’t religious, so attending youth group events isn’t their thing, but individual groups could start activities in community centers or schools have more extra curricular activities and really reach out to the kids. But that brings up the money issue. I firmly believe that with a lot of heart and effort initiatives can be taken and people can form better lives for themselves than what they think is really their future.

  3. Great great!! Youth programs are so beneficial. The thing about community programs is starting off you may not have a huge crowd in certain instances but the more you firmly stress how important and serious violence has produced through the youth the more support you will have. The days and the youth violence are becoming dangerous but I’m for sure that youth problems can become an important factor to reduce violence.

  4. What a great post! I really enjoyed reading this and I agree with everything you stated about young adults in our society today. I think one of the main problems is the parents themselves, because they are the ones either setting the bad example for their children or not disciplining as they should. However, although I do think there should be more attractions or events to attend for young adults these attractions should not be abused. One of the main reasons Jillians was shut down was due to gang related issues/young adults causing problems.

  5. I believe that one of the primary sources of the issue is the parents themselves, since it is the parents who are either the ones who are providing a poor example octodle for their children or who are not disciplining their children as they need to. However, despite the fact that I believe there need to be a greater number of attractions or events for young people to attend, it is essential that these attractions not be exploited in any way.

  6. Every household is different, but you can only hope there are positive outlets outside of the household. Maybe the kids aren’t religious, so attending youth group events isn’t their thing, but individual groups could start activities in community centers or schools have more extra curricular activities and really reach out to the kids.
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