Two groups team up to make a difference in lives of teens

Vision One Life and the Sisterhood Initiative have joined forces to take teenage girls to Gannon University in an effort to get them headed in the right direction.

LEADERS—Carmen Pace, League Coordinator Caprice King, Chantel Burke, Ayanna Jones and City Councilwoman Tonya Payne.

The purpose of the trip was for the teenagers to learn about an online radio station and bring what they learned back to Pittsburgh. This would be a place where they could voice their concerns about each other and keep them off the streets. As a part of the Department of Theatre, Communication and Fine Arts at Gannon University, 90.5 WERG provides a creative learning environment for students while offering unique programming to Erie and the surrounding communities.

One Vision One Life works with targeted communities to reduce or eliminate violence. As a fun part of this venture, the teenagers also went to a water park called Splash Lagoon.

Ayanna Jones, program director for the Sisterhood, said she feels passionate about her work and helping the youths in the community.

“The ladies from the Sisterhood Initiative are interested in starting an online radio station,” she said. “With that in mind, I wanted them to see a model of an online radio station that is up and running. We are going to Gannon University to WERG with Lee Smith and we are going to have a tour of the radio station. We are going to see the in and outs of how you put an online radio station together. We are also going to be on a panel discussion on teen violence and after that we are going to Splash Lagoon.

SISTERHOOD— Sisterhood Initiative members.

“Presently, teen violence is out of control. We are not doing problem resolution. Instead, we are picking up a gun or fighting or we are maiming one another. All the people in office who are concerned need to step up and take a stand.

“When we look at our educational system all over the city of Pittsburgh, our children are lacking books. The kids can pick up a gun quicker than they can pick up a book. A book is going to elevate you or take you to the next level. A gun is going to do nothing but get you in trouble or get you killed.

“The online radio station’s purpose is to give the young ladies in our community a voice. We have issues about their rap, behavior, and how they act. The kids have concerns of their own and they need a voice to tell us what we need to do to change the situation. If we can mediate, which is one of the purposes of One Vision One Life, we will do that. If a shooting incident happens, we are immediately on the scene. If we can give the children a voice to talk about their issues, the retaliation will end and the homicides will stop. We can not afford to lose any more young men and women in this battle against violence.”

Carmen Pace, who works with City Councilwoman Tonya Payne, is also in support of this mission to help youths in the community.

“Councilwoman Payne supports “One Vision, One Life” with the Sisterhood Initiative. These are young women from the neighborhood seeking support and guidance. “One Vision, One Life” is providing that and this trip will take them out of their neighborhoods to expose them to positive things that are going on. Councilwoman Payne will continue to work with the executive director, Richard Garland as well as the program director Ayanna Jones of the Sisterhood Initiative. She will support the youth throughout the city.

“The parents of these teenagers are happy that there is an alternative for their children to do something positive in the community and become productive members of society.”

“I think it’s a good idea to get the girls out of the neighborhood and express themselves,” said Dee Dee Gardner.

“I feel that it’s good to get the young girls out of the community to do something different and curb the violence amongst the young girls. It’s nothing for them to do around here anyway. They need to get out and do different things, “said Tonya Gardner.

“It’s important because it gives these women an opportunity to see firsthand how an online radio station works and they can replicate the program here in the city of Pittsburgh. The online radio station will help them learn skills to produce a show and run an online station, but it will also help the community,” said Councilwoman Tonya Payne.


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