Knoxville leaders and our community will gather at Fulton High School on Wednesday night to talk about ways to help at-risk kids, and take a stand against violence following the shooting death of Zaevion Dobson.
WBIR is partnering with WATE, WVLT and the Knoxville New Sentinel for a one-hour public forum called "Stop the Violence: A Community Conversation."
Anyone who can't make it can watch at home on any of the three networks, or at WBIR.com.
The forum starts at 7 p.m. ET.
Join the conversation using #ZaevionDobson.
Warning signs to look out for:
Meet the panelists
Reggie Jenkins – Uunik Academy
Reggie Jenkins is the founder and executive director for UUNIK (pronounced unique) Academy. UUNIK Academy is dedicated to transforming Knoxville’s African-American youth into respectful and respectable adults. On Thursday nights and Saturday mornings, it offers activities for participants ages 10-14. The goals for youth participants include getting them to respect themselves and others, to honor and respect older community members, to understand basic money management, to learn about African and African-American history and culture, and to learn how to lead. The Academy’s funding is based on the generosity of others. Donations help provide meals, transportation, uniforms, and supplies for participants. http://uunikacademy.org/donate.html. The group also frequently posts information on its Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/uunik.academy/
Jackie Clay -- Save our Sons
Jackie Clay became the program manager for Save Our Sons in October 2015. Before that she worked in the Knoxville Mayor’s Office as a project manager. Knoxville’s Save Our Sons Initiative is part of a national network of mayors called Cities United. The purpose nationwide is to eliminate violence-related deaths among young men of color and to increase opportunities for boys and young men of color from the ages of 15 to 24. The Knoxville program is targeted to two specific Project Safe Neighborhoods and is funded by a three-year grant through the Tennessee Office of Criminal Justice Programs’ Targeted Community Crime Reduction Program. You can find out more about Save our Sons on the City of Knoxville’s website:http://knoxvilletn.gov/government/city_departments_offices/community_relations/save_our_sons
Doug Kose – Big Brothers Big Sisters CEO
Doug Kose has worked since Janury 2013 as the CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee. The organization helps at-risk youth overcome adversity by pairing them up with an adult role model in the community. That one-to-one relationship helps guide participants and make a meaningful impact on their future. There are many ways to support Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee including making a donation, volunteering to be a ‘Big’, or enrolling your child in the program. For more information you can visit the organizations website or its Facebook page: http://www.tennesseebig.org/about.htmlhttps://www.facebook.com/BBBSofEastTN/reviews
Ronni Chandler – Project GRAD
Ronni Chandler is the Executive Director for Project Grad Knoxville. The group’s mission is to impact generational change through education. Established in 2001, the East Tennessee program serves 7,000 students from kindergarten through college to secure a better foundation for their futures. Project GRAD currently serves 14 schools in the heart of Knoxville. Sponsors and donors have helped Project GRAD Knoxville award 1,311 scholarships worth more than $1.5 million. To help invest in Project GRAD Knoxville, visit the organization’s website: http://www.projectgradknoxville.org/invest/
Mark Stephens – Knox County Public Defender
After practicing law in the private sector for nearly 10 years, Mark Stephens committed to public defense services. He’s currently serving his fourth term as the elected District Public Defender. He has dedicated his career to building the Knox County Public Defender’s Community Law Office into a model of client-centered representations. In 2002, Stephens received the UT Pro Bono award for his outstanding contributions to the Innocence Project.https://www.pdknox.org/
Judge Tim Irwin, Knox County Juvenile Court
The Hon. Tim Irwin has helped support and endorse the Boys & Girls Clubs of America throughout his life. He’s seen firsthand the positive impact it can have – growing up he attended the Caswell Avenue Boys Club for five years. He went on to play 14 seasons in the NFL and pursued a law degree. He was appointed Knox County Juvenile Court Judge in 2005. He a member of the Alumni Hall of Fame for the Boys & Girls Clubs and continues to give back, including through an annual charity bass fishing tournament.http://www.bgca.org/whoweare/alumni/AHOF/Pages/TheHonTimIrwin.aspx
Chief Gus Paidousis, Knox County Security Department
A veteran of more than 30 years of service with the Knoxville Police Department, Gus Paidousis has served as Chief of Security for the Knox County Schools since 2013. Paidousis has also served as deputy chief of the criminal investigation, patrol and support services divisions of the Knoxville Police Department. He helped launch the department’s School Resource Officer program and assisted in the selection and assignment of the Knoxville Police Department’s first School Resource Officers. The Knox County Chief of Security holds an Associate of Applied Science degree in Law Enforcement and a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice. He has also completed study at the FBI National Academy at Quantico, Virginia. According to Knox County Schools, Paidousis is also an expert on Amber Alert systems and strategies to prevent and address the abduction and exploitation of children.
Dr. Clovis Stair, Knox County Schools Supervisor of Psychological Services
Dr. Clovis Stair’s mission as is to facilitate positive change at Knox County Schools. As Supervisor of Psychological Services Stair works with schools and students if there’s a student or faculty death or a tragedy in the community. Stair not only helps children in Knox County Schools, but also helps parents with their children’s particular needs. After deadly shootings at the Unitarian Universalist church in Knoxville, Aurora Colorado and at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Dr. Stair not only worked with students but the community on how to talk to children about violence. She’s also participated in Child Trauma Conferences focusing on the question of the school system’s preparedness for shootings. Dr. Stair said during her job she works to review and asses needs of students the at impact the educational experience, including motivation, cognitive skills, emotional state, cultural background, and family and health factors. Her goal is to successfully transition students through their academic career and into adulthood.
Kevin Dubose – Emerald Youth Foundation
Emerald Youth Foundation is a Christian faith-based program with a mission to help urban youth in Knoxville become effective leaders in the community. The group began as a summer outreach ministry with youth in the Oakwood/Lincoln Park community of Knoxville in the late 1980s. The ministry grew with a focus on serving youth after school and during the summer. St. Mary’s Medical Center eventually purchased a building on North Central Street and leased it to the foundation for $1 per year. When Tennova Healthcare purchased the hospital, it donated the building to Emerald Youth Foundation. Emerald Youth Foundation started Emerald Charter Schools, which eventually was able to launch Emerald Academy in July 2015 with a goal to help city students develop the skills needed for not only being successes in college and in life, but leaders in the community.
Melissa Massie, Knox County Schools Director of Student Support Services
Melissa Massie, the Knox County school district’s executive director of student support services, helps run several programs that help teach real world skills so that each student can successfully transition into adulthood. Massie helped develop Knox County Schools “Community Schools” program, which launched in 2009. Under the community schools concept, schools are used for more than just teaching students; they becomes hubs for the community. The school stay open in the evenings, on weekends and during the summer for everything from art and music programs to health clinics and fitness programs. Massie said after Knox County Schools launched the programs she was improvements in student behavior, attendance rates and academic performance. The Director of Student Support Services has also worked with the district to help implement several programs to help teachers and administrators identify bullying tactics. She works with parents, faculty and students.
Rick Staples – 100 Black Men of Greater Knoxville
100 Black Men of Greater Knoxville, an affiliated chapter of 100 Black Men of America, is an organization that mentors young African-American males from ages 8 to 18. Mentees, or future leaders as 100 Black Men calls them, are exposed to a variety of activities to promote academic, career, financial, self-confidence, work ethic, moral character and personal responsibility development. “Our motto is ‘What they see is what they’ll be,'” said Mentoring Chair Rick Staples. Staples mentored Zaevion Dobson. 100 Black Men of Greater Knoxville partners with schools and community organizations across the Knoxville area.
Stan Johnson, SEEED Knox
Stan Johnson helped start SEEED with Jarious Bush, Josh Outsey and Jerome Johnson. SEEED stands for Socially Equal Energy Efficient Development. The green community development non-profit trains inner-city youth ages 16-28 on solar panel homes on clean energy technologies like solar panel instillation, recycling, community gardens and weatherization. The idea of SEEED is to create not only sustainable careers for all of Knoxville’s residents, but a sustainable city. “Knoxville stop a bullet like a job,” said Johnson. Johnson said their programs create pathways out of poverty for youth and increasing access to sustainable, clean energy technologies and a sustainable food supply for low to moderate income residents.
Denetria Moore, Girl Talk Inc.
Denitria Moore is the founder and executive director of Girl Talk Inc. She founded the organization in her East Knoxville living room in 2006 with the goal of preventing teen girls from making the same mistakes she made when she was younger. Moore became a single mother at 19. “If I can teach girls to love themselves and not seek validation from a guy, I can prevent her from going down the road that I went down,” she says. Her goal is to see young women achieve and excel beyond their dreams as well as increase their self worth. Girl Talk mentors girls ages 9 to 18 with the goal of helping with their educations, improving their emotional and psychological well-being and decreasing sexual activities. All girls involved will attend a college tour or college-focused seminar.
Doug Kose, Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee
Doug Kose has worked since January 2013 as the CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee. The organization helps at-risk youth overcome adversity by pairing them up with an adult role model in the community. That one-to-one relationship helps guide participants and make a meaningful impact on their future. There are many ways to support Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee including making a donation, volunteering to be a ‘Big’, or enrolling your child in the program. For more information you can visit the organizations website or its Facebook page: http://www.tennesseebig.org/about.htmlhttps://www.facebook.com/BBBSofEastTN/reviews
Kwabena ‘Beno’ Miller, Overcoming Believers Church
Once a former gang member, Kwabena “Beno” Miller is now a community leader and outreach minister at Overcoming Believers Church. Miller said he thinks lack of jobs and education contribute to violence in Knoxville. “We need to come together and make the good life more attractive,” says Miller. On Martin Luther King Day Miller marched with former rival gang members with “Heal the Land Knoxville.” Made up of former gang members and members of the community the group’s goal is to reinforce a message of peace in Knoxville. Overcoming Believers Church markets themselves as “an uncommon worship experience.” The church has been very active in the community through prayer and outreach programs.
Visit the original story from our NBC partner at www.wbir.com
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