Leaders urge kids summer programs to fight gang recruitment - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Leaders urge kids summer programs to fight gang recruitment

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Albany Police Corporal Brian Covington Albany Police Corporal Brian Covington
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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Leaders at the Boys and Girls Club of Albany say the streets are more dangerous than ever, and urge parents to take advantage of their programs to protect their kids.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Albany have 800 kids in their summer programs. Kids like Olivia Walker say they are glad to be there making art projects.

When 9 year old Olivia Walker was asked what she would be doing if she wasn't there-

"Sitting on the bed watching TV."

Jalen Howard buses from Randolph County every morning and says he doesn't know what he would do if he stayed home.

"I don't know," said Howard. "Be bored."

Instead he is playing video games with friends. Leaders of the Boys and Girls Club of Albany say kids left at home alone in the summer can become targets of gangs, or be recruited to join them.

"Gang warfare- it's picking up in this city," said Boys and Girls Club of Albany CPO Bob Hutchinson. "So they are recruiting."

Police say supervised summer youth programs help cut crime, and protect children.

"Naturally, when you have kids that are involved in positive activities, it leaves no room for doing anything that's negative," said Albany Police Corporal Brian Covington.

"What we are trying to do, we are trying to provide services for kids during that important time," said Hutchinson. "[It's] precious time, when kids are getting into trouble."

And some Police officers say they're proof that it works.

"I am proud to say that I was a product of the Boys and Girls Club. I went to Cedar Avenue Boys Club," said Covington.

There are lots of summer youth programs in Albany, and police and youth advocates urge parents to get their kids involved this summer in one. They say it will help Albany fight crime now, and in the future with better citizens.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Albany still have a few spots open. It costs $30 a week, but officials will work with parents who can't afford it.

Call 439-0196 for more information.

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