MCLENNAN COUNTY — City leaders in McLennan County are stepping up to help empower local organizations that are working to "Save our children."
"I think all of us are doers and not just talkers so we just figured out how we can do the work, how we can be more impactful, how we can get these organizations what we need," says Waco ISD Trustee Jeremy Davis.
This after Waco Police reported since June of 2020, there have been 380 juvenile arrests in Waco for children 16 or younger.
Including both violent and non-violent crimes such as being a repeat run away, robbery, family violence, burglary and more.
"The great thing that they have, because they still are minors, is that they can turn it around, and that's what these organizations are focused on that we're highlighting," says Davis.
Those 17 and older are tried as adults.
"If we don't safeguard our young people, if we don't prepare and protect them for an adulthood where they can be productive and constructive citizens then we do damage to the future of our society as a whole," says McLennan County Commissioner Patricia Miller.
On the list of McLennan County officials involved with "Save Our Children" are Commissioner Miller, Waco Councilmember Andrea Barefield, Mayor Pro Tem Travis Gibson, City of Bellmead, City of Waco ISD Trustees Jeremy Davis and Keith Guillory.
Miller says the leadership is already involved with youth organizations or carries a passion to help children.
"We came together and said hey, this is the best time to do it, after the community has spoken and has elected us to do a job, let's get in here and do it," says Waco ISD Trustee Keith Guillory.
Among the list of non-profits with the "Save Our Children" initiative is the organization "The New Black Collective."
With its pillars of education, culture and quality of life, they help youth strive for a better future.
"Whenever someone steps in to show that young person that they do have a different story ahead of them other than violence other than getting in trouble or letting their grades slip, when they see that, then they're more apt to actually step into their potential," says Kevin Thomas, Secretary and Board Member with The New Black Collective.
The New Black Collective has been around since the summer of 2019.
Also helping with the cause is the nonprofit "Vision 4 Youth" which focuses on building trust with law enforcement, but also keeps children off the streets through sports and community service.
"We're here for the kids, we're here to make them successful, success is the key to everything to me in my eyes and that's what I want to see more of my young kids of color, breeding success," says Vision 4 Youth Founder Philip Stone.
Also involved are:
"What we are asking are that those organizations come around the table and tell us how we can make them more productive, what is it that they need to have a greater impact on the population of children that they seek to serve. So you are looking at African-American elected officials but every child is important and every death is a tragedy," says Miller.