HIGH POINT, N.C. — Charged with stealing vehicles at age 9. Facing murder charges at age 15.
These are the criminal records young people in the Piedmont have before even getting out of high school.
High Point police officers told FOX8 that they are trying to connect with young teenagers before they go down the wrong path.
Now, there’s a group of nine women trying to do the same thing.
In a conference room, with an old chalkboard and empty chairs and tables, Sarah Graham created Drawers of Hope Resource Center in High Point.
“We’re going to make things happen,” she said. “I noticed a great need here.”
The need: to give kids 9-12 years old an avenue to keep them away from crime.
“A lot of organizations start with the older kids, like the teens and the teens are pretty much on their way,” Graham said.
She and her staff want to show children the positive in the world and give them the tools and role models they need to avoid criminal charges and the court system.
“They are more impressionable at a young age. We’re trying to make sure that they see what’s out here,” Graham said.
Graham spent nearly two decades working in the criminal division at the Guilford County Courthouse in High Point.
She watched many kids go through the system.
“Oh, Lord. It’s bad. We’re dealing with a lot of young people being pressured into doing things to fit in. That’s what I’m trying to get in between,” Graham said. “Them being peer pressured to do other things, you know crimes, and thinking it’s cool to be connected to gangs.”
Now she works with elementary school children in Guilford County and sees how kids struggle.
“Our hope is to just show them a different life,” Graham said.
With tutoring, self-motivational classes, and activities seven days a week, she believes she can inspire children in High Point to do better.
“If our organization can make a difference on one or two lives, then we’ve done what God has sent us out to do. To change things.”
The grand opening of Drawers of Hope Resource Center is at 3 p.m. on Jan. 9 at 2203 Eastchester Drive, Suite #101 in High Point.
For more information, head to the Facebook page.