“The streets are stealing our kids”

A concerned citizen group in Opelousas is asking the community to come together to stop child violence and failure.

Ricky Julien, a community advocate and educator said fight at schools and failure and drop-out rates are increasing in St. Landry Parish but what's worse, is no one seems to want to take responsibility.

“We need to stop the finger pointing between the school system, the parents and the religious organizations,” he said.

That's why he is inviting everyone to come together and brainstorm as to the best way to support the future generations in the city of Opelousas

“The main purpose is to get a city wide vision plan. We need to know where we are going and where we would like to be with our children,” he explained.

The first official meeting to discuss and plan a community wide vision will take place Wednesday, October 9th at 6 pm at Community Outreach Church (1031 Perry lane, Opelousas).

Julien hopes everyone from educators to law enforcement to government officials answer his call to action.

Melvin Richard, a community activist agreed and said he hopes his parents' church leave standing room only.

“This is something that we want we want our community back,” he said.

Both men say the streets are claiming their kids and it's time to claim them back but not with money, gimmicks or promises.

Richard said, “You would be surprised just showing up at one of these school campuses and by word of mouth and just letting people know that you are going to be there how kids show up.”

“Any type support that they need, whether its counseling, whether its mentoring whether its academic support,” Julien added.

“I want to make sure that our children here are safe. I want to make sure that they know they are loved and I  want to make sure that they have the resources they need to be successful.”

Julien said Opelousas will be the catalyst as they hope to develop a successful plan and then expand to the entire parish. Wednesday's meeting is open to the public.

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