ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – George Brown, a local youth mentor, is getting results for teens in his community before they make life-altering decisions.
He is encouraging them to walk away from violence because the choices he made as a kid put him in prison for more than a decade.
More guns are getting into the hands of teens in Central Florida. Before their lives really begin, some of them are being sent to prison for injuring or killing someone.
There has been a reoccurring issue in Orange County of teens being killed due to gun violence.
That includes 19-year-old Gamaine Brown, who was killed outside of Jones High School during a football game; 16-year-old De’Shayla Ferguson, whom police say was shot by the father of her child; and 19-year-old Raniyah Gandy, whose killer still hasn’t been found.
Brown, the youth mentor, was sentenced to 30 years in prison back in 2005 because he was involved in a shooting.
Just one week after his high school graduation, he was arrested. Brown said that was the lowest point of his life.
Although he was behind bars, he said the world didn’t stop.
“My son was born when I was locked up, so I missed everything,” he said.
He was able to appeal his 30-year sentence, though, and re-enter society after 15 years served.
Now, he is making the most of his second chance.
“Even though the odds were against me, I just never gave up,” Brown said.
He opened his own tax office in Orlando called Prolific Tax Services, speaks to kids at juvenile facilities and mentors teens in hopes to keep them on the narrow path.
One of his mentees is 19-year-old Delmontre Pryor. He is a college student and football player with big goals.
Thanks to Brown’s advice, Pryor said he is saying no to gun violence.
“My life would change because I wouldn’t be the same person. I wouldn’t feel the same. I’d be considered like a felon, and I would be limited to do stuff I want to do,” Pryor said.
Brown hopes teens are listening when he says violence is not the answer.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, firearm-related injuries became the leading cause of death in 2020 of children 1-19 years old. The rate of firearm related deaths from 2019 to 2020 was just under 30%.
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