Upcoming youth conference aims to educate, empower to keep kids out of jail

Published 12:20 am Friday, June 24, 2022

Initiating change and helping young men understand some actions can carry serious consequences are the main topics for a Saturday conference in Port Arthur.

“School-to-Prison Pipeline” is a free event scheduled from noon to 5 p.m. at Calvary Baptist Church, 2208 Canal St.

The conference is targeted at young men ages 7-18. Registration can be found on Eventbrite.

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Don Holloway Jr. with Victorious Youth Kings connected with other similar groups such as Titan Men on the Rise, PA United and Project Life Changers to present the conference.

Holloway said there would be breakout sessions where speakers will talk of their experiences of being incarcerated.

Keynote speakers include Port Arthur Independent School District Chief Deputy Gene Winston and Dominic Hardie.

Holloway said the goal of the event is to make youth aware of the school-to-prison pipeline in which students are sometimes arrested as part of disciplinary action instead of sending the student to the counselor.

Suspension of students can lead to other actions when students are running the streets and missing education.

“The school-to-prison pipeline refers to the school policies and procedures that drive many of our nation’s schoolchildren into a pathway that begins in school and ends in the criminal justice system,” according to information from Victorious Youth Kings Mentor Organization.

“Behavior that once led to a trip to the principal’s office and detention, such as school uniform violations, profanity and ‘talking back,’ now often leads to suspension, expulsion and/or arrest.”

This, Holloway said in the written statement, is why the groups are excited to present the first set of speakers who will share their experience and motivate young men of Port Arthur to stay on the right path.

Holloway said he tries to touch on different topics he feels are affecting children.

There will be transportation to the church by van, which will bring children from apartment complexes such as Prince Hall, Louis Manor and Avery Trace.