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

If you’ve heard the saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child,’ then it may be a little easier to understand the goal of the Campus Clubs ministry.

They’re a team of volunteers helping young people redirect their focus from hanging out after school to learning a little extra once the bell rings.

Williams White, Tammi Tesch-Jerels and Nathan Watson are three different people who volunteer their time teaching Central Georgia youth three different skills, starting with robotics.

“We get them to basically take a bicycle all the way apart, put it back together, and then they get to keep the bike,” said Watson.

The classes make for an interesting afternoon for kids at the Campus Clubs ministry.

“A lot of them live below the poverty line. A lot of them are at home alone after school, so this is the perfect fit for them,” said Tesch-Jerels.

But the volunteers say it’s a perfect fit for them too.

“I like to think that these kids can grow up and walk the correct path. I don’t know… if the bike shop has one ounce of benefit, I hope it can do that,” said Watson.

“To do that you’ve got to spend time, you’ve got to build trust, and that’s what part of this program is all about,” said White. “We want to give them some tangible skills, but we also want to be there as a mentor for when they want to ask those questions that they might not want to ask somebody that they don’t know very well.”

It’s that mentorship that keeps the volunteers coming back and keeping hope alive for their students’ futures.

“That’s the future of our city and so the kids need to be disciplined, stay in school, get an education and be able to contribute,” said Watson.

The Campus Clubs ministry is free for participants. Click here for more information on how to volunteer or how your child can participate.

MORE PEACING TOGETHER PROFILES

Peacing Together: Macon man leads ministry that pairs children with mentors

Peacing Together: Bibb lieutenant coaches youth football to teach discipline

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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