NewsLocal News


Gadsden County hosts Stop the Violence Rally to combat recent homicides

Mother of gun victim speaks out
Posted at 6:08 PM, Sep 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-06 18:14:53-04

QUINCY, Fla. (WTXL) — “To have your child in programs like these, to keep them out of trouble, to keep them focused on something, to allow life coaches to pour into them. To allow kids to vent,” says Lay.

Idea after idea, community and faith leaders are working together to come up with a plan to end teen violence.

The call to action comes after recent homicides that took place a week apart from one another. The homicides involved an 18-year-old and 20-year-old Quandre Kirkland.

That tragedy is the fuel Kirkland’s mother, Pearl Spann is using as a rallying cry to stop the violence.

“I don’t know what to say. I just want them to stop killing each other,” says Spann.

Span felt one of the many things that could put an end to violence was youth programs and centers.

The Teen Success Academy began nearly 3 years ago. The program is an Intervention Prevention Program that has helped over 280 teens.

Program Director Paula Lay feels giving kids the right resources can help them succeed in life. “Our youth come through there and they stay positive. They’re doing good things and going on to another level in life which is great,” says Lay.

Programs such as the Restoring Families is also working to increase efforts to help find a safe space for teens to go.

Project Director Alma Venisee helps divert youth from violence, helping over 386 kids in the last 5 years.

“That we’re serving we’ve noticed that they have not entered the juvenile justice system,” says Venisee.

"Get some centers here to talk to these kids. Some of them just need to be talked to,” says Spann.