COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Urban Scouts is a resource hub for connecting youth and their families to the services they require to be leaders in their communities.
Even with a spike in violence in Columbus, a group of teens believe they can make a difference.
“I just want to make change, ” said 15-year-old Tyonna Ellerbe-Easley. “It’s time to change.”
She is wasting no time to start making that change as she applies to join the Columbus Chapter of the NAACP.
“I feel like I can be a part of that change,” Ellerby-Easley said.
Ellerbe-Easley is a member of the Remember Us Urban Scouts in Columbus. She sees issues within her community and in her family and wants to work to change them.
“My mom has three kids, and they all going down bad paths, and I’m the last one, and I just feel like I can do better for myself,” said Ellerbe-Easley.
It is a feeling she has realized thanks to the Urban Scouts.
The organization’s founder, Miguel Geno Tucker, said it’s about educating our youth, loving our youth and exposing them to more opportunities.
He also wants to help out families holistically. He has members of the organization hand out information about IMPACT Community Action which can provide services and resources for families in need.
The organization also exposes the teens to learning about gardening, landscaping, and helping them understand how to be financially literate.
“I was in the streets my whole life,” said Tucker. “I know how easy it is to be on the right path, but you not making no money. I tell people all the time if we help provide the basic needs –housing, transportation, and money in their pockets — we can reach more people that way, than asking them to do things and they’re worried about how they’re going to eat, they’re worried about where going to sleep, they can’t get nowhere.”
This is something Silas Peck has seen first-hand.
“There are a lot of kids out here doing drugs and guns, and all of that and we’re trying to get them out of the streets,” said Peck.
Now, as a member of the Urban Scouts, he feels like he is part of a bigger family.
“We laugh, joke around, and have fun, but we also still do our work,” said Peck.
Work which includes cutting grass in the Linden community for senior citizens, single parents and disabled residents for free
“It actually helps me with life, to be able to stay focus on your priorities, and your priorities come before your fun,” said Peck “So it actually makes me feel good to cut grass, and I love cutting grass. I love being outside.”
So if anyone sees a group of teen walking down the street in Linden with lawnmowers, know that they are here doing good.
Qiana Wynn lives in Linden and the group cuts her grass.
“I was honestly shocked and happy. It needed to be cut,” said Wynn. “It’s really nice to see the young kids out trying to help the community.”
Ellerbe-Easley added, “I like being out, seeing that people’s happy to see that kids are trying to change what’s going on right now,”
Even though they help in the community at no charge to residents, the organization pays $13.50 per hour for kids 16 and up; teens ages 14 and 15 get a stipend of $200 per week.
Tucker says it’s tough during the pandemic, but he believes it’s an important part in marking sure these kids don’t turn to crime for cash.