Community leaders empower parents to 'step up'

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative in Shelby County empowers parents to step up and support their children despite the challenges they face.

On Tuesday, local leaders, community members, and law enforcement officers gathered at Hickory Hill Mall for a juvenile justice summit.

The message? Our children, our responsibility.

Charles Beard, 16, shared his advice for young people who struggle to make better decisions.

"I just tell them to stay focused and stay away from people that's telling them the wrong thing," he said.

A mother of two boys, Markenia Sims said parenting takes dedication.

"They are African-American young males. That's one challenge in and of itself that they had nothing to do with," she said.

Juvenile Court Judge Dan Michael said it takes a village to nurture children in a positive environment.

"It's critical that we have parents step up to help me do my job and keep them out of the system," Judge Michael said.

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