LITTLE ROCK, Ark – Last year was the deadliest year in Little Rock for homicides, some of them involving teens.
Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Central Arkansas said they’re creating a presence in the Little Rock School District and Jacksonville Middle School to help students stay on track.
The Little Rock Police Department said last year the city ended with 81 homicides, the LRPD documents obtained show 56 led to an arrest and out of that number 19 were teenagers.
Quintiauna McFadden is a mentor with BBBS and she said she is hoping to reach young people by talking to them at schools.
“It was one of the deadliest times because there were not people at work being mentors,” McFadden said.
She explained the reason why she became a mentor was to reach a variety of kids.
“I became a mentor specifically with Big Brothers and Big Sisters because of their impact and the students that are being served in their organization,” McFadden said.” It’s the ones that get left behind or forgotten about,”
McFadden said she started as a mentor in the summer of 2022. Since then she said she has mentored in three central Arkansas schools and has met over 100 students. McFadden believes it’s crucial to catch teenagers as early as possible to help them.
“Catching them early and hearing what they are going through or what they have questions about or what they’re aspirations are, you can really help map out the direction they need to go,” McFadden said.
BBBS Central Arkansas CEO, Raymond Long, said the organization is focused on furthering its efforts for youth.
“We’re expanding our programs in the central Arkansas area. We have a real focus on the little rock school district and Jacksonville middle school,” Long said.
He added having mentors inside schools pushes the needle.
“Our job is to simply intervene and redirect that energy but the littles that we are serving I want to be clear. 93 percent of them are avoiding self-sabotaging behaviors including violent acts in the school,” Long said.
McFadden said she believes talking can change any kid’s future and teaching them how to go about the next step when they’re angry, frustrated or looking for answers can help save lives
Anyone interested in being a mentor with BBBS can call 501-200-5688 or go to BBSCA.org to apply.