Instead of spending their summer days lounging around, four young boys in Georgia have taken the initiative to find jobs and make a difference in their community.
Seventh and eighth graders, Dylik, Dennis, Deion and Jalen, wanted a way to stay out of trouble when strangers approached the boys to join local gangs.
They contacted the director of LaGrange Housing Authority, Zsa Zsa Heard, and inquired about small chores they could do to keep them both busy and productive.
“They asked me about a job and I thought they just wanted money,” Heard told InsideEdition.com “I asked ‘Why do you want to work?’ and that’s when one of them said ‘I want to stay out of trouble and I do not want to be in a gang.’”
Heard said she sat up in her chair when she heard their words.
According to Heard, there was a recent incident in the community involving gang violence. She said the suspect was a fifteen-year-old young man who also approached the boys about joining a local gang.
“We have an afterschool enrichment program and a teen leadership program which they will also be placed in,” said Heard. “We don’t want this to be a Band-Aid fix; we want something to be long term for the boys.”
The young men have also participated in etiquette and art classes to enhance their skills for their successful futures.
“One of the young men wants to be an attorney and we want to make sure we connect him and find an attorney in town that [he] can kind of shadow so he is able to keep an interest in that field,” Heard said.
The middle-schoolers will return to school on August 10, but will remain in the program during their summer and winter breaks.
“Our goal is to teach independence,” said Heard. “We don’t want them to be dependent; we want them to continue to move upward instead of downward.”