Community hosts 'Men's Night Out'

Posted by: Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It's a phone conversation Jeanette Byrd can't imagine receiving.

"I [would hate to] get a call saying, 'Hey, your son is in a gang.'  I would hate to think about what that would do to me and the rest of the family," Byrd explained.

Parents hope to avoid that call by answering another: positively affecting kids at an early age.

Thursday, E.T. Davis Elementary School hosted 'Men's Night Out,' an event created to do just that:  show kids positive male role models and give them someone to look up to.

"Enough is enough of having the streets raise our children. And this is where it starts," said Elisabeth Suttles, the schools parent-community liason.

"We're going to try to encourage that the parents stay involved throughout their [child's] school life," explained Pastor Ed Nettles of Freewill Missionary Baptist Church.

Remember, not everyone has a dad to guide them through life's troubles.

"I think kids start to stray out to the left without their dad around in their life, and I think that's where most of the problems come in," said Kevin Smith of Montgomery

Organizers say that's why sticking together as one neighborhood can make all the difference and steer kids in the right direction.

Just ask the people in the middle of it all.

"Remember to always be yourself.. And don't try to be the cool kids just because your friends are," said fifth grader Equavion Walker.

"It really helps.  With boys who don't have a father, it really helps," added sixth grader Kendarrius Mathews.

For kids who don't have a dad at home, organizers offer mentoring and after-school programs.

They'll even bring in fathers to talk to the children.

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