Community center hosts anti-violence workshop

The Jack McLean Community Center and Teen Council hosted a “Change your Mind, Change your Life” workshop that focused on promoting anti-violence among youth in the Tallahassee on Saturday.

More than 100 community members were in attendance and able to participate in games and activities, enjoy live performances and get information from various vendors and local organizations.

The main goal of the workshop was to educate parents and youth about positive programs and activities available for youth to stay on a positive path.

“An occupied mind is where a lot of the violence is created,” said Tiffany Moye, president of Stop the Violence, a local non-profit organization. “There are tons of different resources available for children. We just need to bring everyone together and get them aware of what’s going on in the community.”

Change your Mind, Change your Life is just one of many initiatives tied to the Stop the Violence Movement that has taken place the past two years in Tallahassee. The organization works to put an end to senseless violence by leading marches, participating in rallies and hosting educational workshops.

One of the first vendors residents were able to see upon entry was Richardson Family Funeral Care and its visual representation of what it calls “the end result” of violence, a casket revealing one’s own reflection.

“My message with the casket is to show people that this is what violence can do to you,” said Joshua Stegall, mortuary technician. “That’s the purpose of the mirror, for you to look into the mirror and see yourself if you stay on the wrong path.”

Vendor topics ranged from substance abuse to bullying and children from elementary to high school were able to ask questions and get advice.

Raekwon Williams, founder of local non-profit organization, the Raekwon Organizing Youth Community Education Foundation, also known as ROYCE Foundation, believes that people can make a change.

“The biggest impact that we make on the community is just being able to touch lives and changes lives day by day,” Williams said.

The ROYCE Foundation, based out of Godby High School, was founded in 2013 as a mentoring program with the purpose of giving back to at-risk youth in the Tallahassee community.

Williams, who uses personal situations as motivation for him to serve as a positive role model and impact the lives of others, said organizations such as Stop the Violence not only help to provide information and resources, but they also help to assure families and residents that there are people in the local community who care.  

“I want to instill in these kids knowledge that they may not have and to just really prevent them from going down the wrong road,” Williams said.

Moye said networking is the most important aspect of this movement and having student and organization involvement makes a difference.

“College students serve as role models because they are still in school and promoting a positive message,” Moye said.  “Having older people to look up to makes a greater impression on these kids.”