Oak Grove residents work to keep kids out of crime - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Oak Grove residents work to keep kids out of crime

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- The Oak Grove neighborhood in Chattanooga has seen its share of crime over the last few years.

Now some residents are stepping up to put a stop to it.

Prostitution, drugs and gangs are just some of the issues that face the Oak Grove neighborhood.

A group of residents is coming together to give local children the resources they need to get on the right track.

They say fixing the problem starts with the kids.

Cheryl McGary is a mother of five and has another on the way. She sees the urgency to make her neighborhood a better place for her children.

"Moving in, we had a lot of issues with people selling drugs in our area, as well as prostitution," McGary says. "And so it's always been a vice in our area, but it's gotten better over the years. But, I would love to see it be more of a thriving neighborhood."

And she's not the only one. She's joining a small but enthusiastic group of Oak Grove residents who see the need to make a difference.

"We do have a lot of, still, prostitution in the area," Rachel Collins says. "We have a lot of gangs in the area. We have a lot of drug dealing issues that incorporate, unfortunately, children in the middle school and high school age groups."

The Oak Grove Neighborhood Association is working on a summer program for local kids.

It will be faith based and include meals and physical activity.

Plans are still in the development stages. They're working on landing a grant from the UNFoundation, and they hope the community might pitch in as well. That way, more people can get involved.

"We're trying to get as many children involved as we can," Rosalyn Ruffin says. "And prayfully, by getting the children, we get the parents, and we're just hoping we'll have a snow ball effect, that we'll have a lot of people helping us."

Though the group is small, Cheryl McGary says she's confident it will help.

"It can get discouraging at times when you live in a neighborhood with the different vices that we have, but I am very encouraged and motivated to do more," says McGary.

If all goes well they hope to have the summer program up and running by June.

If you'd like to help out with the summer program, you can give Rachel a call at (423)718-2543.

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