Saving our Sons stands up to gangs - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Saving our Sons stands up to gangs

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - An Albany woman is taking her fight against gangs to the streets. She lost her nephew to gang violence. He was killed when he tried to rob an innocent man who also died in that violent crime.

Gwendolyn Hope wants to bring hope to other young men growing up on the same streets that led her nephew to gangs.

West Highland Avenue is known for prostitutes and drug activity. Gangs also frequent the area, but in the middle of this troubled spot is the center of refuge, sending out an S.O.S. to Save Our sons.

It's a night that Gwendolyn Hope won't soon forget. An innocent man was killed during a robbery at an East Albany Motel. But a not so innocent man who also died was her nephew, a gang member who chose the wrong path. Now she's wants others to find the right one.

"We just really have a passion to save our sons," she says.

Save the ones coming up in this neighborhood surrounded by drugs, prostitution and gang bangers. Save them from making the same poor decisions.

"Listen, this is not the road for you. You don't want to go there, so, of course we can't help them all, but who we can, we will."

And she's not doing it alone. She's partnered with pastors, law enforcement officials and other community members to reach out to young men in order to stop them from joining gangs, or to get them out after they're in.

"You feel like you're completing something and you're trying to move this generation and the community forward," said Danielle Blackwell.

And give them the skills they need to stand up to gang activity. "This program helps develop that fortitude," said Pastor Elvin Mallory. "It helps develop that leadership. It helps develop a sense of individuality but still receive that it takes a unit to successfully survive. Not just in this region, but in these times. We can definitely save our sons."

And the great news is, they already are. Recently, two young men they helped pull out of gangs and are now back in school.

A celebrity golf tournament will be held Monday morning at the Flint River Golf Course in Albany to benefit the Saving our Sons program.

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