DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — After a difficult year last year, less than a month in 2021 a young man had his life taken away on Morris Street due to gun violence as it was the first murder of the year in the circle city.
“We had a lot of murders that happened in 2020 with our young men here in the Dothan area so to start off the year with another murder with a guy that was only 20 years old. It’s heartbreaking for families here it’s heartbreaking for communities,” said Nate Patterson, Time Youth Director.
Patterson is the executive director of Time Youth which is an organization that mentors young children in the community. He spends a lot of time educating young men in all areas such as staying out of the streets in efforts to prohibit gun violence.
“You are valuable, you are special and God created you to do things in life that has a purpose so when they choose the streets it makes it harder for mothers, fathers, and grandmothers to watch over these young men,” Patterson said.
Patterson says it devastation at its finest seeing mothers and grandmothers cry about the young men in their lives taken away too soon because of a senseless murder. He says men in the community have to step up and provide an outlet for young men in the area to eliminate violence.
“We wanna create something that’s positive, we wanna create a place where they can hang out, we wanna create a place where men can come in and point to these young men so they don’t choose the streets, pick up that gun and feel like their life isn’t nothing anyway,” Patterson said.
Patterson says it takes more than the law enforcement and city leaders cracking down on gun violence but it takes a village to help young men find their purpose. Time Youth is offering free after school mentoring and Teens to work job readiness program.