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Officials in Little Rock emphasize summer initiatives designed to keep kids away from violence



Little Rock, Arkansas – Following the youth-only shooting in Little Rock on Wednesday night, the city has announced that it will be offering summer activities to help young people avoid violence.

According to Dana Dossett, director of the Little Rock Community Program, the activities are intended to provide children with future planning chances, a pleasant environment, and employment opportunities.

“We want to make sure that they are getting into positive opportunities, not turning to violence,” said Dossett.

According to Dossett, their programs are aimed at all young people, and this summer they will be offering at least 300 different ones. According to her, the summer work program is the most well-liked, with over a thousand applicants.

According to a 2014 report published on the US Department of Labor website, summer jobs for adolescents can lower crime rates.

She said they can assist in placing young people for summer employment in a variety of jobs across the city thanks to that program.

“In partnership with Junior Achievement and Watershed who have made a difference in finding us great employers to work with,” Dossett said. “For example, Bank of America, we have Costco, The Outlets.”

After his experience last year, which he claimed altered his perspective on life, Montavious Goins said he decided to participate in the program as a mentee this year.

“It gets you connections to further educational people,” he said. “Communication is key to the workforce.”

Erin Farmer, the program’s principal mentor, was also a mentee in 2016. She claimed to have gained a lot of knowledge that would be useful.

“It helped with my leadership skills, presentations, interviews and it molded me to the person I am today,” Farmer said.

After earning her master’s degree from college, Farmer expressed her gratitude to be back in the role of mentor and her desire to support young people in choosing a route away from violence.

“A five-minute decision could cost you 50 years in prison. Don’t let someone influence you into something you do not want to do.” Farmer said. “I have seen it happen plenty of times and it has ruined children, keep your eye on the prize, and stay in school.”

Dossett stated that even if the summer work program’s enrollment is ended, other young people are still eligible to participate. The city will host a training workshop on Monday through Thursday, and the Arkansas State Fairgrounds Hall of Industry will host a job fair on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.




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