MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – More than 60 people came together in Myrtle Beach Saturday looking to find solutions to gun violence in the city.
People who voiced their concerns at the Sandy Grove Missionary Baptist Church were committed to finding ways to stop the violence.
“There’s a issue in our city, and what effects our community effects our city as well,” said organizer Reverend Timothy McCray.
McCray says he was inspired by the way folks came together after violence marred Bikefest as a way to find solutions to the problem.
“The community came together over Memorial Day bike week, we’re coming together to address the issues the same way,” said McCray.
Those who attended said they are fed up with the crime on their streets and were trying to come up with ways prevent the circumstances that lead to violence in the first place.
“Kids just wandering around no where to be, no role models,” said attendee Richard Bellamy.
“You can’t say, ‘stay out of trouble,’ you have to provide activities and resources to make the kids not want to get in trouble,” added attendee Fannie Brown.
The importance of family was brought up, as was presenting programs from an early age so that teenagers are reached before a problem can present itself.
“We haven’t given the kids the foundation they need to be successful,” said Brown.
The goal is to keep kids out of trouble, in school and off drugs.
The prinicpal of Myrtle Beach High School attended, not in any official capcity, but as a concerned parent.
“I’m part of the community, the school is part of the community so I wanted to make sure I was here so I could hear what’s going on, so I can be a part of the solution,” said Principal John Washburn.
Organizers say the next step is to get the city to provide more support for youth empowerment programs.
“Working with our city government and our county government to address issues about how can we solve some of these issues in our community,” said McCray.
Leaders are calling on members of the community to attend council meetings to show elected officials the importance of funding programs to serve area youth.
One resource that is already in place to serve kids after school is the Mary C. Canty Rec Center.
Any teen is allowed in for free and they have after school programs that cost $30 per week, but leaders say they’ll work with people so no one gets turned away.