Community organization aims to interrupt violence by investing in youth

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 9:46 AM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The answers to our problems are in our community, and those closest to the pain are also closest to the solution - that’s the belief of Strong Arms of Jxn.

The community organization is seeing success on its mission to connect and engage with Jackson area youth and teach them life lessons to steer them in the right direction.

Strong Arms of Jxn, created under the guidance of the People’s Advocacy Institute, is interrupting violence through what they call a Credible Messenger Initiative.

It’s a native [or group of natives] of a community with similar experience to the youth they’re mentoring and supporting.

That’s where Terun Moore comes in - the organization’s co-founder - who was arrested at 17 and spent two decades in prison.

For more than a year, the Jackson native and his team have been developing a relationship with youth and helping them build skills and find jobs.

“That’s a good feeling to see them transform from what they were doing, or the way they were thinking, to now being able to see them think differently,” he said.

Young people are thrust into a workforce readiness program, community service, educational activities, and more. And Moore said their work is paying off.

In October, nine individuals graduated from the program they created for youth ages 18-25.

“Got a couple guys that’s going to go to college, got a couple guys got jobs now,” Moore said with pride. “One of our guys got his CDL’s (Commercial Driver’s License).”

Then, last month, six more graduates came through the program, ranging from ages 13-17.

“We want them to realize their full potential through this program,” Moore said matter of factly. “Realize your decision-making process, learn accountability, learn the importance of loving yourself.”

The organization challenges the graduates to take what they’ve learned, apply it to their own lives, and pass it along to their peers.

The co-founder said his teams’ efforts go a long way to helping many young people stay out of trouble, preventing them from making a decision they’ll regret one day.

“We’re changing that narrative,” Moore said with compassion. “I’m showing you that, man, you went through something already; that’s your power. Learn how to use that as your power, and let it take you further. We are giving them something tangible that they can take through life and help better their life, and their community, and or the life of their family,” he said.

And the icing on the cake, Strong Arms of Jxn, just secured a new building they’ll be working out of to continue transforming lives.

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