SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – It’s the first week of summer for thousands of Chatham County students.
In Savannah several teens are working to make sure the hours of gained free-time doesn’t lead to more crime in the area.
News 3 spoke to four young men whose mission is to serve their community by being a beacon of hope and not become another statistic of crime.
“If anybody asks are we brother’s in Christ, yeah we’re brothers through Christ, nah we’re real brothers. Like I can call his mama my mama,” Jamell Brown, 16, said.
Brown along with Keith Bonapart, Daquan Smith, 20, and Dontrey Erwin, 14 are all part of the Royal Ambassadors, a Gospel dance group.
“We dance we help the community in anyway we can,” Brown said.
The group says they dance to honor God, the next generation and Smith’s father, Ricky Morris.
Morris was killed in July 2015. His murder still remains unsolved. Morris was a mentor and choreographer for the Royal Ambassadors. His son, Smith, and others chose to move forward in peace rather than anger.
“People get the message later in life, we’re trying to get the message early,” Brown said.
After each having been affected by death, the men say they understand why people would choose to engage in crime.
“That’s why people go to a lot of gangs because they see that the gangs care or whatever. They have their back. They just want to feel the same thing with their own family member,” Brown said.
Citing loneliness as a main cause of crime, the men are determined to make love prevail for Summer 2017.
“We need people to show us that they care. And speaking as a young person as a teenager, that’s what we need. Like if we see that nobody cares we’re going to go on our own route. That’s really what we see happening in Savannah, everybody’s taking their own route,” Brown said.
The men see solutions to crime in Savannah starting with intentionally reaching out and loving each other, especially young men their own age.
“I see the solution as family, friends, fun and food. Just having a big cookout you know. Just everyone dancing to music and having fun and no drama,” Brown said.
They say they gladly invite any young man looking for a place to belong this summer to check out the Royal Ambassadors.
“If you want to be wanted, you can be wanted by us. We’re willing to take anybody. We’ll try. We don’t care, we’ll try and try and try,” Brown said.