MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Twelve children have been killed in Memphis this year.
Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital says in just the first four months of 2021, 42 children had been shot.
A licensed sports social worker is going beyond the basketball court and football field to help change the mindset of our troubled youth.
FOX13 spoke with a teenager who understands why some mentors use sports to encourage young people like himself.
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Raleigh Egypt High School Senior Rashun Hunter’s story is like many teens just trying to survive gun violence.
FOX13 caught up with Hunter directly after Class Day, where juniors and seniors are recognized for their outstanding accomplishments.
He said he understands how mentors can save lives in his community.
“I was at least trying to get some money so I could start at least paying for my senior dues and trying to take care of my business, and then boom, something happened. I got shot in the stomach, wasn’t expecting to survive,” Hunter said.
Hunter, who plans to attend Southwest Community College this fall, hopes teens can learn that violence is not the answer. He says another teen he knows shot him.
“I wasn’t able to attend school. I was in the hospital on bed rest. When I got out the hospital, I wasn’t able to move as much. I was hurting. I started back attending school,” he said.
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Hunter says mentors like Brandon Ousley are saving many of our youth. Ousley, a licensed sports social worker, uses sports to combat crime in communities plagued by violence. He works closely with teens through their Coaching Boys into Men program.
“We teach them how to be a good role model, how to conduct yourself off the field.”
Ousley says teens in his program work closely with professional athletes.
Hunter, who plays baseball for Raleigh Egypt, says the mentorship program really makes a difference.
“If they like doing sports, they can go do sports and get stuff off their mind, like if they like doing something they can do that instead of how here doing violence.”
“Like how do you engage in the community outside the field and outside of your sport, what are you doing to make your community better, are you picking up trash, are you doing community service, are you making your community better,” said Ousley.
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