FORT PIERCE, Florida — Police say that 21-year-old Joseph Jean was shot and killed on the 600 block of Dundas Court in Fort Pierce four days ago.
As of Monday, police in Fort Pierce say they still haven’t found out who killed him.
The shooting happened less than a mile from where eight people were killed less than a month earlier during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration in Fort Pierce’s Ilous Ellis Park.
Now, parents tell us that they want more community support for kids so that they don’t go down the wrong path in the future.
Zaphnee Ulysse said about what she would like to see after the shootings, “We would like to see more police involvement in the community.”
Ulysse is the mother of a 15-year-old student. She said that she worries about him and other kids his age, which shows that the community needs to do more.
“He doesn’t need school. He needs to be around people, like at the playground, in the park, in the community, and in the world “Ulysse said.
This is something that more than one mom has told us. Julie Baringer, a mom, thought that if there were programs, not enough moms knew about them.
Baringer, who has a 14-year-old and a 4-year-old, said, “Maybe there needs to be a group that specifically reaches out to parents to let them know, maybe at local schools or something that you can contact, because it would be great if more kids could be involved.” “I feel bad for our kids. They really need help. It’s not even just about violence; it’s about mental health as a whole.”
We talked to community outreach programs in Fort Pierce to find out what options parents and their children have at the moment.
We sat down with Jerome Gayman, who is the head of Frontline For Kids. The after-school program began in 2000. Every school day from 2 to 7 p.m., it gives kids food, activities, help with their homework, and, most importantly, role models.
Gayman said, “It takes a village to raise a child.” “Our research shows that teenagers get into the most trouble between 2 and 7 p.m. Because of this, our staff is taught how to change that kind of behavior.”
Gayman said that one of the most important things is to inspire kids, help them believe in and achieve their dreams, and let them know they are loved and supported.
“Children have needs that need to be taken care of. They also need help and someone to talk to because they have problems. And we have a staff that loves and cares for them. That can’t be beat, “Gayman said.
Gayman also said that the work doesn’t stop when the kids leave at 7 p.m. Gayman’s mission is to always help parents and their children so that they don’t turn to violence.
“We have a social work department that goes to schools, meets with parents and teachers, and does other things that a single parent who works can’t do,” said Gayman.
Gayman said he hopes parents know about his program and that the light of the kids he sees every day will shine on the ones he doesn’t.
“We have a lot of these kids who are doing really well. And when one guy shoots someone and does something wrong, he makes the news, so it’s great that you are shining a light on these young people “Gayman said. “They are the backbone of this country and will help it move forward.”
If you want to get your child involved with Frontline For Kids, click here. The building is also open from Monday to Friday, 7 p.m. to 7 p.m.