Jared’s Heart of Success, Inc. will host a summit for youths and teens on Feb. 1, 1:15 – 3:15 p.m., at the Stonecrest Library Auditorium, 3123 Klondike Road, Stonecrest.
The “Prevention of Violence through Creative Art” Summit will feature performances by youths and teens through spoken word, poetry, and creative arts and dances.
Stonecrest Mayor Jason Lary will bring greetings and remarks at the program. Major K.D. Banks, of the DeKalb County Police Department, will serve as the keynote speaker.
Stonecrest resident Sharmaine Brown, founder of Jared’s Heart of Success, said she is encouraging parents to bring their children to the event, where the talents of about 10 youths will be showcased and positive messages will be shared. Brown founded the organization after she and her husband, James, lost their 23-year-old son, Jared, to gun violence in July 2015.
“The goal of the summit is to raise awareness in our community of the forms of education and prevention of any type of violence,” said Brown.“No parent should have to experience the pain that I live with daily in losing my son. There are so many creative things that our youths can be involved in.”
Brown said the summit will commemorate National Gun Violence Survivors Week, which begins on Feb. 1. She said her organization also has received special recognition from Gov. Brian Kemp. This month, Kemp issued Brown a proclamation declaring Feb. 1 “Prevention of Violence Awareness Day” in Georgia.
“I will continue to be an advocate for our children and for families like mine who have experienced gun violence. There have been too many youths lost to gun violence. It’s become like it’s normal,” Brown said. She said her son was attending a cookout when a young man opened fire on a group of young people and Jared was shot in the head as he tried to run. A friend of Jared who had been involved in a disagreement with the shooter over a video game was shot in the leg. The shooter, Brown said, was sentenced to life without parole.
“I feel that there have been too many shootings involving our youths. It’s becoming like it’s normal,” said Brown.
Major Banks said he is looking forward to speaking at the “Prevention of Violence through Creative Art” Summit
“I think it’s important to let the youth know, from the police standpoint, we still know that despite some of the things that are going on, there’s a brighter future,” Major Banks said. “There are many of them doing more positive things than negative,
The summit is free to the community. Refreshments will be provided.
For more information, e-mail Sharmaine Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OCG News intern Candice Guthrie contributed to this report.