MACON, Ga. — Through a partnership with Mercer's Center for Collaborative Journalism, Georgia Public Broadcasting and the Telegraph, we will seek out many voices over the next year and ask the question: What is the cost of youth violence? The project is named Peacing Together. 

BACKGROUND: Peacing Together: Seeking solutions to youth violence in Central Georgia

Finishing high school, going to college and getting a job -- these things can seem out of reach if you don't have support and guidance.

But at the Adult Readiness Program in Macon, young people are gaining the skills they need to stay on track and off the streets.

"Everyone has a past," said student Slatosha Clyde. 

Life hasn't always been easy for her.

"Student loans, that's what stopped me. I went to a school that closed down. They said they were doing the wrong thing and it backfired on me. I had to pay the loans back," she said.

With no job and bills piling up, Clyde's back was against the wall.

"You have to give people a second chance sometimes," she said.

She found that second chance at the Adult Readiness Program in Macon.

"This program is to get them over that hurdle and create some opportunity for them," said founder Roger Jackson. "One of the things we wanted to do was reach out to the unemployable, gang members, people that haven't had a good shot in life that needed a second or third chance."

As part of the program, students learn about resume writing and interviewing skills, and talk with companies about what it takes to get hired, but the students also learn more about themselves in the process.

"They actually teach you how to get yourself in tune with yourself," said Clyde.

"A lot of people don't have self-confidence and they think because of their past that they won't have an opportunity, and if they listen to the street committee like a lot of them have been doing, then they tend to stay in that rut, stay in that box, and we're trying to get them outside of the box and get them going," said Jackson.


Because with the right support, anything can happen.

The Adult Readiness Program meets 4 days a week for 4 weeks. There is no cost to join. For more information, click here.

MORE PEACING TOGETHER

Macon mother urges youth to think twice before choosing violence

When and why are teens committing crimes?

We can't do this on our own, we need your help too. We'd like to invite you to take a brief survey on your thoughts on youth violence in your community.

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