Deirdre Nicole has grown up in North Nashville, her five children have also grown up in the neighborhood, one they call the 37208.
“I’m really scared for them now that summer is about to come in,” she said. Nicole believes the kids and teens most at risk are also the ones who don't have parental involvement at home. “A lot of people don’t want to touch it but I will touch it because I used to be one of those parents that was in the streets, didn’t care where my kids were at at one point in time,” Nicole explained.
In the last two years, she's worked hard to turn her life around. Now she's making sure her children try to stay on the right path. She admits it's been difficult. “Its so much more going on than just we’ve got these youths that are out of control,” said Nicole.
Teen violence has increased in the last several months and with school out Metro Parks wants parents to know there are programs available for them.
DeMarkus Doss has run the Looby Recreation Center in North Nashville for 13 years. It's one of several Metro community center's that offer free programs for kids and teens throughout the day. “Like we always say here it takes a village. If everybody works together with each child someone will make it,” said Doss.
However, Nicole is advocating for more. “All these big organizations, they close by 4 or 5 p.m. Who are you really helping? You get millions of dollars to help teens and youth stay off the streets but you’re closing at 4,” Nicole said.
For the first time, this summer, the Metro CRAFT Youth Athletic League will launch in June. The program is a direct result of the 2016 Youth Violence Summit and was developed after the Nashville Police Athletic League closed down. The deadline to sign up is midnight 5/24.
Opportunity Now can help place your teens in summer job programs.