City of Vicksburg announces plans to open youth development center to help curb crime amongst young people

Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 11:02 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Wednesday, city leaders in Vicksburg gathered inside the city auditorium to discuss ways to curb crime among the youth.

From fights outside the mall, to teenagers killing one another, the city is no stranger to seeing young people commit senseless acts of violence.

It’s troubling trend city leaders are determined to stop.

”We just believe we can save our youth,” said Mayor George Flaggs. “We believe that here’s hope, and we believe at the same time that if we give them a structure and a way to go up, they will go up.”

During Youth Ad Hoc Committee meeting, Mayor Flaggs unveiled the plans for a new youth development center.

City, county, school, church, and community leaders all coming together to bring some much-needed resources to offer to the youth.

The center will have a several resources geared towards the teens, teaching them a number of things such as Life and parenting skills, as well as mental health programs.

”We believe that we can staff that building in a way that we’ll be able to have resources available for our kids during the school hours and on weekends,” said Mayor Flaggs.

”It’s very important to have youth programs in the community,” said Vicksburg Police Chief Penny Jones. “It helps with mental health;  it helps with teaching our kids how to be mentored or how to mentor to other kids. It helps them learn skills to teach them how to get a job, and not only that, gives them an opportunity to get scholarships to go to school and other places.”

As city leaders unveiled their plans for the youth center, they’re also hearing from the residents about other programs they’d like to see implemented.

”Mentorship is a key part of it,” said Dexter Jones, who’s a member of the Youth Ad Hoc Committee. “You’ve got to mentor young folks this day and age because a lot of them are on the wrong path and they need some help to get on the right path, so I think programs such as these that we are trying to implement is going to get them there, and ultimately, it boils down to them having a relationship with God.”

More than a dozen stakeholders from the city and county are coming together to work on the project.

At this time, there’s no date on when the youth center will open.

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