MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — More and more teens are charged with shootings and other crimes in Mobile.
The Boys and Girls Club is trying to combat the trend.
Kids at the Boys and Girls club on Cody Road are making music. It’s all a way to encourage them to pursue performing arts or another passion to keep them out of trouble.
“The goal is to get kids off the street, and provide them an opportunity about playing the guitar,” said Cory Penn, the director of the Boys and Girls Club, Kiwanis Branch.
The program is called Guitars Not Guns. It’s a six- to eight-week program at the Kiwanis and Cody Road locations. The kids have the chance to take the guitars home at the end of the course so they can continue to explore music.
“We don’t want our kids on the streets. The murder and killing are high enough as it is,” Gregory Finley said.
Finley, who performs under the name Pap-Star, teaches guitar at the Boys and Girls club.
“We want to give them alternatives, you know, guitar. Music is really on the rise especially here in Mobile, the music scene is really growing,” Finley said.
One of his students, Israel, has been playing for a few months. She says she’s really enjoying the chance to learn the instrument.
“It’s really exciting — this program means a lot to me,” she said.
Finley says programs like this are ways to give kids not only an alternative for things to do but also as a way to communicate better.
“Sometimes these kids don’t even know how to talk to us, talk to adults. Through the music, they can. They can say hey, ‘I’m sad right now.’ They can express that. It’s just another form of communication,” Finley said.
The Boys and Girls Club says they are looking for volunteers to not only teach at other locations but spend time and become mentors. Right now, the Guitars Not Guns program is just offered at their Kiwanis and Cody Road locations. Penn says parents of Boys and Girls Club members can go to any of the branches and ask to be part of it, and they’ll figure out the transportation.