In an effort to deter Camden kids from a criminal life on the streets, Rev. Sheila Jones will be hosting a ‘Reality Check’ seminar Saturday at St. John’s Born Again Church in East Camden.
The event, which will be held from noon to about 3 p.m. Saturday, will feature law enforcement and former convicts speaking to youth about the dangers of drugs, gangs and teen pregnancy.
Jones, who lost her son to drug violence in 2001, wants to dispel “the myth of street life,” which is an “it won’t happen to me” approach, she said.
“I preach so many of these kids funerals and the line is so long and they have the t-shirts,” she said. “After street time of mourning is over, someone steps up to take that place.”
She wants to put an end to that cycle by having people who work with or used to be part of Camden's street life tell the kids that it’s not worth it.
One former drug dealer who served time in prison and is now a chef and mentoring area youth is expected to speak.
The event will also have some parent awareness classes such as the dangers of the Internet, Jones said.
Because of the increased violence this year- 53 homicides this year and on pace to break Camden’s homicide record of 58 – Jones has been putting extra effort into this year’s event. (Jones held a similar event in 2010).
“There’s an urgency to go a little further this year,” Jones said. “It seems like a lot of the violence is being directed at young kids.”
In addition to Saturday’s events, a gospel rapper will be performing Sunday at St. John’s Church, Jones said.
IF YOU GO:
St. John's Born Again Church, 220 N. 27th St. in East Camden
Noon to 3 p.m. Saturday