Albany youths hitting the streets to stay off the streets

Campbell Francis

"I said why!"

That was Abigail Meadows' reaction when she was robbed at gunpoint in May by two youths in the parking lot of her ministry.

She says the material loss she suffered was small compared with the crime's emotional toll.

"It put fear in me and the fear that it placed inside of me â" it took time for me to longer have that fear," said Meadows.

Meadows is not the only one afraid and concerned with the tide of violent crimes committed by young people washing over Southwest Georgia.

That's why Sylvia Strong and others joined Youth Against Violence, or YAV.

"The purpose of the organization is to steer kids away from the streets, away from violence, and show them a positive way in life," said Strong.

YAV will hold its annual Youth Conference on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at Zion Pure Life Church at 7:30pm.

Speakers, like members of the Albany Police Gang Task Force and Dougherty County School Superintendent Dr. Joshua Murfree will deliver messages of change and hope to the community's young people.

The conference concludes on Saturday with an anti-violence march beginning at 9:00am.

Organizers say they're expecting about 200 people for the march. It starts at the Albany Civic Center and ends about 2 miles away, back at Zion Pure Life Church.

Campbell Francis told us he's been involved with YAP since he was 15 because of the positive message it delivers to young people.

"You could be doing other things," said Francis. "You don't have to be stuck where you're at. There's always a silver lining in every dark cloud that you have in life."