PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — A reformed gang member is reaching out to teenagers as he starts a new after school program aimed at stopping them from joining gangs.
45-year-old Kenneth Daggans is from Gulfport, Miss. and served 17 years in prison but now he’s living in Pensacola.
The gang prevention program is called Black Fist Outreach Ministries Incorporated and they meet at Lexington Terrace Community Center. Daggans has Jordan sneakers to give away to those in need. Some days they will have food and snacks, video games, and they will be able to get homework done.
Commissioner Lumon May gave $1,000 to start the program and they’re hoping for donations to keep it going throughout the school year.
They will meet from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“After being eight years in solitary confinement and being incarcerated for 17 years, It woke me up to mobilize a way to do better for these kids that’s in the community and to be a mentor and a leader to them,” Daggans said.
Daggans’ life is much different now. He’s a mentor to children and trying to stop them from going through what he did. He joined the Gangster Disciples at the age of 15 and spent nearly two decades at Parchman Prison in Mississippi for violent crimes.
After recent shootings in the area, he hopes children won’t follow that path of violence.
“It hurts my heart,” he said. “So it gives me the motivation to go out into the community and engage with the kids in activities to provide necessary programs for them.”
One girl Daggans has inspired is 13-year-old Allahna Johnson who is an 8th grade student at Escambia Christian School.
“I try to keep myself away from bad vibes and stop disrespecting my parents and distance myself so I can focus on me,” she said.