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Rebuilding a community one step at a time

By LAURA LEE  BERNSTEIN
www.americustimesrecorder.com

AMERICUS — Every seven seconds someone is being abused. Unfortunately, the citizens of Sumter county have not been exempt from this staggering statistic. Domestic violence has become an all too familiar issue in the community, prompting concerned citizens to take action.
Last Saturday, S.A.V.E (standing against violent environments), a non-profit organization in Americus/Sumter County that works with the community to eliminate violence, concentrate on education, and SAVE our Youth, held its second annual Community Action Rally at former Staley Middle School. The rally served to continue the on-going discussion of domestic violence in the community and issued a call for action that focused on community involvement as the cornerstone for stopping the violence and rebuilding the community.
“Domestic violence is a community issue,” Pastor Willie Greene emphasized in his opening remarks to the concerned citizens in attendance. “It isn’t about love; it is about control.”
S.A.V.E’s primary objective is to be a movement that addresses not only the current spread of violence, but its infectious ability to cripple and hinder the growth of a society. It is the hope of the organization that these efforts will bring business, community, and government leaders, schools, and individuals together to end the detrimental impact violence can have on lives, homes and communities.
A panel of community leaders including Sumter County Sheriff Pete Smith, Americus Police Chief Mark Scott, Pastor Roy Cobb of I Heart Church, Hershel Edwards, owner of Eazy Ride Auto Sales, and Roger Jackson, owner of Suave, answered questions and provided comment and insight on the ever growing issue of domestic violence in Sumter County and how important community involvement and action is in helping provide solutions to the problem.
“Rallies like this one are great,” said Americus Police Chief Mark Scott, “but we have to do something with it. We have to sustain the things we start.”
Since its inception in 2015, S.A.V.E. has partnered with Eazy Ride Auto Sales to give away book bags and supplies to over 400 children in the community and has implemented S.A.V.E. Saturdays, a monthly mentoring event for youth in grades 5-10 aimed at helping these youth be more successful at home, at school, and in the community by teaching responsible decision making and focused goal setting.
Keynote speaker and longterm resident of Americus, Jennifer Jenkins Dawson, concluded the second annual Community Action Rally with a call for action directed to all citizens in Sumter County.
“It takes a village to raise a child. Who is going to rebuild the village? Who is going to rebuild this community? Stop living like you are an accident. It takes all of us to rebuild the village and we will do it one step at a time,” she said.
For more information on S.A.V.E. or how to get involved with their efforts, email Laura Edwards at standnow15@gmail.com or visit their website at http://standnow15.wix.com/save.