MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich– They want kids to think about their future, and help them stay off the streets.
“If you can reach them while their young, you can build something with them. After a certain age they are set in their ways,” Christopher Thomas said.
Christopher Thomas is a senior mentor for Pathfinders in Muskegon Heights, an afterschool program that give place a safe place to go. Thomas says he’s been a mentor for the last 7 years, and says the violence in the city has gotten worse.
“When I first started, it was just a lot of fights in the streets in small areas in the community. Now it’s like, they just ride up on each other to shoot. It’s not like a fist to fist things anymore,” Thomas said.
Pathfinders is located at Temple United Methodist Church, just down the street from where two shootings have taken place over the last month. The most recent shooting took place this past weekend, when Quinton Miller was found dead on the 2400 block of 6th street in Muskegon Heights.
Brenda Coleman is the senior coordinator for Pathfinders. She says they want to prevent crime like this, by reaching out to kids when they’re young.
“The 9th-12th grade kids, showing them there is a way out of Muskegon. It’s not all about the violence in the street, it’s not about what you are doing out here in the street is about getting an education and making something out of your life,” Coleman, said.
A little less than a month ago, 18-year-old Kentae Jones was also found dead on the same block. Witnesses told police they saw a group of people running up to a home and opening fire. Police are still looking for the suspect in this shooting as well.
Thomas says this crime needs to stop.
“Those guys you were trying to impress when you took out your gun and shot him. When you took a father a brother, a son, when you took him. You hurt yourself, you hurt his family and now when you do that time, and you do that time by yourself,” Thomas said.
If you’re interested in taking part in the pathfinders program, they’re here Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and they except kids from 7 to 17 years old.