COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A local non-profit organization is starting a new series focused on building up Columbus’ youth and keeping them away from violence.
The Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children’s mission is to turn their pain into purpose.
“We knew that the youth needed some type of engagement out of the norm that they are given,” said Karla Harris, one of the founders of Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children.
The purpose of the group’s new initiative, which launched Saturday, is to help these teens set goals and show how they can achieve them.
The program, Investing In Our Future, is one of the many things the mothers are doing to keep teens away from violence and out of trouble.
Saturday’s event drew dozens of children ages 12 to 16, tasking them with coming up with an obtainable goal for their life, ways they can reach that goal, and then putting it onto a vision board to serve as a reminder.
“Only person to be better than is yourself,” said Jazmond Brown, one of the teens who took part in the program. “One of my goals here is to get a car and start driving to school.”
The program is a three-month-long series. Over those months, the teens will be identifying passions, coming up with 10-year plans, and hopefully sticking to those plans.
“We are trying to get accountability, we are trying to get action plans to get to their future, to get to their full potential we know they can be,” Harris said. “If you put those words into action, it’s an important piece to who we are as growing adults.”
Harris is leading the program’s sessions, showing teens like Brown how they can have a positive future.
“Over the next three months, we are going to be doing passion identification,” Harris said to the children at the session. “We’re going to put out an action plan, we are going to map out our vision, and we are going to stick to it.”
Brown, who is heading into the 10th grade, likes the immediacy of the vision boards, saying when she normally does them, she does them for so far into the future that she doesn’t check anything off of them.
“It gives you something to look forward to,” she said. “I think sometimes we get caught up in the life that we don’t think too far ahead. We think about now, but sometimes we need to set future goals. So when you can see it and visualize it, it’s easier to be like, ‘OK, this is really what I wanted to do, and this is how I’m going to get there.’”
Eventually, the group is hoping to pair each teen with a mother in the organization to act as a mentor to them.