EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSMother Of Murdered Teen Delivers Message To Group Against Drugs
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Leslie Rubin
Reported: Jul. 2, 2014 5:39 PM EDT
Updated: Jul. 2, 2014 11:34 PM EDT
Institute , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Hundreds of teenagers got a strong message on Wednesday about dealing with drugs.
Deanna McKinney's son, Tymel, 19, was murdered sitting on his porch eating pizza last April. She's now on a mission to shape kids at an early age in hopes they will stay on the path to success and not be deterred by drugs and violence.
"Hopefully, that I touch somebody's heart today," she said, before giving the speech at the first Teen Summit Against Drugs at West Virginia State University.
"They have other options in life, they don't have to worry about what they friends think or what they friends feel. To follow they own hearts, find themselves, reach they own goals within themselves, so they can be an asset to the community instead of tearing it up," she said.
The summit was part of the university's Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math-Science Programs in conjunction with the Partnership for African-American Churches.
Their goal: To show the teens that doing drugs is not the norm.
"These kids are a primary example of young people that are not participating in that of behavior and they are doing quite well, despite where they come from and what they're family background is," James Patterson, executive director of Partnership for African-American Churches, said.
"It's crazy how people are loosing their life everyday over nothing," Jazmine Perry, 16, said.
She is just one of about 200 kids taking part in the program and hoping to use the knowledge she's gaining to spread the message to others.
"It gives you goals. It helps you in school. You better youself. You won't be out in the streets, getting your life taken from you," she said.
While McKinney said she still seeks closure, she knows her story is far from over.
"Sometimes it takes one, and it took my son, and I'm honored, you know that God even chose him, chose me to walk this walk because it's not easy, but it is worth it," she said.
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