Chattanooga pastor tackles gang violence - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Chattanooga pastor tackles gang violence

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A Chattanooga pastor is tackling gang violence in Chattanooga head on by taking young people out of Chattanooga.

He wants them to experience life outside the city in a new light.

Ezra Maize, pastor of Rahoboth Ministries says he wants to turn the lives around of Chattanooga's young men and women who are affiliated with a gang, by putting them on a plane and letting them travel overseas and see different countries. 

All in an effort for them to come back a totally different person.

Chattanooga's gang violence has one pastor on a mission looking to put a stop to all of it.

"I always think what we can do to put a stop to put a halt to what is taking place here," said Ezra Maize, Pastor of Rahoboth Ministries.

Pastor maize says he has finally found the solution.

"So we are trying to move them out of their environment and allow them to see life from another perspective," said Pastor Maize.

Starting in September, six individuals men and women who have been affiliated with a gang in Chattanooga will board a plane and leave the U.S. for eleven months. 

Leaving behind the life they have known and experience a new one. Each month they will visit a different country and do missions work.

"It's hard to really discover who you are, when you are defined by where you are," said Pastor Maize.

Maize's project is gaining a lot of attention. He says he has a large donor base. However he says more donations are still needed.

"It costs approximately 27,000 to house an inmate here in Chattanooga for a year. It costs approximate $25,000 to send one of these young men and women across seas to visit eleven countries in eleven months," said Pastor Maize.

So far he has received over 50 applications from individuals affiliated with a Chattanooga gang. He says he sees their eagerness to want to turn their life around.

"There thing is pastor I feel stuck, I can't get beyond where I am and I'll try whatever it takes to make a change in my life," said Pastor Maize.

Maize says he knows firsthand what they are experiencing. He says he was in a gang in jersey during his younger days. 

"I tell people I didn't leave Jersey because I wanted to, but because I had to," said Pastor Maize.

He says it was the change of environment that changed his life and he believes the change in environment for six former gang members here in Chattanooga will soon change their life for the better.

Now the goal is to add more participants in the years to come. Maize says if you would like to donate or apply to be a participant in the program to call 423-999-2109.

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