Urban Family Talk’s Joseph Parker is reaching out to a local Boys and Girls Club chapter as part of an after-school program aimed at giving youngsters the building blocks they need to make wise choices.
Pastor Parker tells WCBI News that he quizzes the 10- to 12-year-olds every Monday afternoon at the Northside Boys and Girls Club in Tupelo, MS as part of the Ten Commandments Project.
Students spend about 30 minutes each week learning about wise choices and memorizing and reciting the Ten Commandments. Their physical prize is a blue T-shirt that has the Ten Commandments on the back, but Pastor Parker believes the real prize for the pre-teens is the solid foundation for good decision-making, as it will benefit them both now and in the future.
“Sometimes we think it prepares them for adulthood, but the fact is when young people don’t learn it’s wrong to steal, some young people don’t make it to adulthood, because, sadly, you are killed in the midst of trying to steal or involved in murder,” Parker poses.
As unit director for the Northside Boys and Girls Clubs, George Parks knows that many of its members are aware of the rise in violence and crime throughout the region. He believes the Ten Commandments Project helps the Club fulfill its mission to train future leaders and champions.
“We are seeing an uprising of things, honestly, that we just don’t want to see in our community. That’s the point and purpose of the Boys and Girls Club -- for us to be a guiding light in our community so the kids will know and understand they do have an outlet,” Parks tells WCBI.
The first student to win a shirt was 11-year-old Tryce Douglas, who says he knows what to do if his friends ask him to do something that would break one of the ten laws:
“I would say, ‘No. That’s the wrong thing to do. You shouldn’t be doing that. It’s a very bad thing,’” Douglas tells the local news station.
As this project nears its end at this location, Pastor Parker encourages churches and other groups to start similar initiatives in their areas.