A Macon community center is hosting a forum to teach young people about the value of respect. Organizers hope the message will help the city's youth become successful adults.
"It's just fun. It's a positive place to go instead of being on the street. It's positive," said Antonio Person.
For Person, shooting hoops with friends is one of his favorite things. He spends time at Macon's Freedom Park Community Center everyday playing basketball. It's a place that offers more than just fun physical activities. The last week of May, the center is hosting a forum that hopes to send an important message to young people.
"It's called 'Let's Talk About It' and it's designed to give them a venue, a place where they can come and express themselves and be engaged with adults and talk about topics of concern to them," said Community Center Supervisor Clarence Thomas, Jr. He says the main topic will be the value of respect.
"A lot of the issues and challenges that young people face and negative behavior they exhibit and a lot of the negative activity they're involved in is rooted in a lack of respect for themselves," said Thomas.
Cassandra Hicks-Calloway teaches dance at the center. Her daughter DeAsia works as a volunteer. This mother and daughter team agree a discussion on respect is crucial to the success of young people.
"It's about being positive and letting your light shine. Building a reputation that years from now you'll be proud of," said Hicks Calloway.
"We do see that there is a need for more positive activities for the younger generation," said DeAsia Hicks.
As for Person, he says he has the message loud and clear but looks forward to attending the forum in hopes of helping someone else get a better understanding of the value of respect.
"I like to lead by example for people older and younger because the things I do are positive," said Person.
The "Let's Talk About It" Forum is set for Wednesday, May 30th at Macon's Freedom Park Community Center from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. It is for young people ages 14 to 21 years old. The forum also features a basketball tournament and participants will get free food and refreshments. For more information and to register, call 478-751-9248.