Warner Robins City Council may bring youth development program to the county

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WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Warner Robins City Council members think they have a solution to a problem with some of their youth.  Since juvenile incarceration laws changed, they’ve noticed some of the same children repeatedly getting into trouble.  The city of Warner Robins may become the agent for the Kids Journey Program in Houston County.

"That means that we funnel the money through us. We also will provide office space," explained Councilman Tim Thomas. 

Kids Journey brings a number of organizations together.

"The health department, Houston Medical, the school board, the cities, the county, juvenile courts, and we put all of our resources together," said Thomas. "To try and take these juveniles and change their lives."

The program would provide different after-school activities to make sure kids are working toward a better future instead of a life of crime. 

"We’ll take them to jail, but we have to release them to their parents or grandparents and usually within 45 minutes they’re back on the streets again," said Thomas.

A similar program out of Hawkinsville, called Life League, has been extremely successful in turning high-risk young lives around.

"One-hundred percent of the kids after they went through our program said that Life League did teach them something positive and that if they were not in Life League, they would probably be doing something negative," said Life League Executive Director Jeff Tarver. 

Life League started as basketball games every Saturday and quickly turned into a life-skill program for the youth in that area.

"Get them hair cuts, let me get you in a suit. I want you to see yourself as a successful human being rather than a juvenile delinquent," said Tarver.

Life League and Kids Journey could be ways to mold young minds into our community’s future leaders.

"The child that we affect in this program could be the one that cures cancer.  It could be a police officer. It could be our next mayor," explained Thomas. 

If council votes to be the agent for Kids Journey in Houston County, the state will give the city 45-thousand dollars to run the program. Council will vote at their meeting on Monday.