The Mayor’s Coalition to Prevent Juvenile Crime began in 2005 in response to an increase in juvenile crime. But this year the City of Florence decided to step out of the box and get involved with the community.
Saturday afternoon the program held its first Youth Services Expo at the Poynor Educational Building in Florence.
The goal of the event is to bring awareness of the various services that exists for juveniles and families while reducing juvenile crime in Florence.
“When you improve the quality of life for the family then the end result will be better behavior for young people, improved academics which leads to a reduction in juvenile crime,” Community Relations Commander Anson Shells stated.
18 year-old Preston Jackson attended the Youth Services Expo Saturday afternoon and he didn’t hesitate to talk to vendors to get the information he needs to prepare for college.
“Before I came I didn’t know it was so many, you know I guess programs that I can use to get into college and help me get into college,” mentioned Preston.
10 year-old Justin Hardee learned ways to overcome bullying at the event.
“Stand-up for yourself, and try not to let them bully you around. Go to a teacher or an adult,” Hardee said.
The Youth Services Expo aims to help families across the City of Florence.
“Not very many people or as many people know about these organizations as they should,” mentioned Shells.
One mother who attended the event says she benefited from the expo too. She was able to take advantage of the more than 30 different vendors who helped kick off the first Youth Services Expo.
“It has been nice for parents to know what services are available, how to help their children go to college, prepare for college, work before college,” said Janice Saulters.
Community Relations Commander Anson Shells says the coalition hopes to make Youth Services Expo an annual event, but first will have to be discussed amongst members.