Locals comment on community outreach program

Shasta Central is a community outreach program tucked away in this North Memphis neighborhood.

Project Coordinator Dorothy Cox says their goal is to serve as a safe haven for positive community change.

"What I see is more sense of community.  People looking out for each other, talking more.  They want to get involved," she said.
Herman Powell, Sr. lives and ministers in Binghampton at Early Grove Baptist Church, blocks from the park where 13-year-old Melissa Robinson was gunned down.

"Until we have people who are interested enough to give themselves to their children, then the children are not going to be transformed by the programs," he said.
Though Shasta and Early Grove are in different parts of the city, they have the same goal of keeping children out of harms way.

"We impacted change while we had them in a controlled environment, but these kids had to go back to the normal environment," the minister said.
Police say when the community reaches out to them outside of a crime scene, it brings that community under their radar and helps to lower crime.

"We send people out to bring the people in.  We don't wait for them to come.  We're out in the community talking, handing out flyers, knocking on doors," Cox said.

"We need to start the grass roots movements and move towards a crime-free city," Powell said.  They both hope the city doesn't have to lose any more children to make that happen. 
North Memphis police say crime is down on Shasta Central's block.  The minister hopes to form a Binghampton church alliance.

For more information on Memphis youth programs designed as an alternative to crime, call the City Programs for Children at (901) 576-6500 or click here.

You can also call Shasta Central (901) 458-4711 or click here for more information.