‘Stop the Violence’ group hopes to teach kids to better respond to issues

The 'Stop the Violence' chapter hosted different community members in the Okolona City Hall Auditorium.

OKOLONA, Miss. (WCBI) -Keeping the community united.

A group in Okolona is working to help folks in the area.

“We’re just bringing awareness to communities, but it has to start somewhere,” Marsha Gates, a member of ‘Stop the Violence’, said.

Violence in the community—Okolona Assistant Police Chief Sherry Hardin said it’s been a growing issue over the last few months.

“We’re having it a lot. You’ve got domestic violence, you’ve got breaking and entering. Violence is violence period,” Hardin said.

With several police reports being filed, one group is working to reduce the numbers.

Members of the ‘Stop the Violence’ chapter demonstrated ways folks can react to problems differently.

“We have the police department, we also have our school counselor here because this month is also bullying awareness month. We also have Fields Funeral Home here. The final call. No parents want that final call. So to prevent that, that’s why we’re having ‘Stop the Violence’,” Gates said.

Booths were set up around the City Hall auditorium.

A variety of scenarios allowed children and adults to learn how to respond and react without hurting another person.

Field Funeral Home Director Oliver Johnson III said families need to know the real consequences of violent actions.

“I wanted to show up so I could share with the families from a Funeral Director’s standpoint the trauma they’ll go through, the unexpected expense they’ll have to bear,” Johnson said.

Stop the Violence group members said this kind of event might be the key to teaching kids to solve their issues without using violence.

“The outcome that we’re expecting from this event is someone will learn hey there’s other ways to solve problems instead of guns or a fistfight or whatever type of violence,” Gates said.

“The school kids have been invited. All of them, elementary through high school so we expect them to show up and just learn what a community can do to combat violence,” Johnson said.

The event lasted from 4 to 6 p.m. and over 30 people attended.

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