(Memphis) Getting out of the so-called “hood” isn’t always an easy thing to do.
A lot of teens think the only ways are by joining a gang or becoming a pro-athlete.
Tuesday, the Memphis Police Department showed more than 600 young people the best way to find success is getting a job.
The long line showed that many teens want to do something with their lives.
“I want to be on the right track in life,” said 17-year-old Tra’anna Sledge.
They seemed to know that it takes lining-up and showing-up on days during Spring break to shake hands, fill out applications and meet those who might change your life.
“If he doesn’t find a job in here, I am going to get him a job,” said Lt. Steven Ware with the Community Outreach Program with the Memphis Police Department.
WREG told Lt. Ware about Fransisco Franklin, who said, “I am 16 years old and I go to Frayser High School.”
In line, Francisco told us why he was there, “Because there are a whole lot of kids out here selling dope and I don’t want to be that kid. I want to try and do something positive with my life.”
He told us that he doesn’t want to end up like his father, selling drugs and leaving Francisco to figure out this “life thing” on his own.
“He is telling me the same thing, that he doesn’t want to be like his dad,” said Lt. Ware. “And I told him ultimately he would be in jail or in the grave.”
Lt. Ware says from now on he’s going to be Francisco’s mentor.
It’s just one way “COP” the Community Outreach Program under the Memphis Police Department tries to help heal young people in North Memphis.
Holding the job fair, with businesses like Walmart, Sam’s Club, and Burger King offering jobs, is another way.
Stats show young people between 18 and 24 commit most of the violent crimes on our streets.
“I can get a job because I am very helpful,” said Sledge.
Teens like Tra’anna and Francisco show that if you give teens the opportunity, they will line up to take it.