Bright Future

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 26, 2005

Many Selmians are confident that positive changes are taking place in the community.

“We live in a high stress environment,” said Frank Hardy. “Adults who have to go out and make a living every day, know how stressful it is, and we know that some days we get to the end of our rope.”

“We need to realize that our children are also experiencing this same type of stress,” he said. “Every day, we hear more and more about crimes that used to be considered adult crimes, being committed by children who are getting younger and younger.”

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In order to combat this violence, Hardy, the Executive Director of the Selma Youth Development Center (SYDC), in collaboration with Mayor James Perkins Jr. and Congressman Artur Davis, held a conflict resolution training Tuesday at the Selma-Dallas County Library.

“Anger is a secondary emotion,” said Ted Quant, one of the training presenters.

“You think about the kids – the ones you serve, and you see this,” he said, while pointing to the word anger.

“The trick is to bypass the anger, and respond to this,” Quant said, while pointing to the words humiliation, pain, hurt, betrayal, disrespect, and disappointment.

“We respond to the behavior, but we can’t stop the behavior if we do not address the source of the behavior,” he said.

Quant, the director of the Louisiana based, Loyola University Twomey Center for Peace Through Justice, said that he has been conducting trainings such as this for about 20 years.

“I’m doing this training for adults who work with youth,” Quant said. “I want them to learn skills to help teach young people how to better deal with conflict.”

“About 35 people from governmental agencies, non-profit agencies, social service agencies – the whole wide spectrum from all over the community, are represented here,” said Huburt Brandon. “It’s a great thing to come together as a group and address issues of violence.”

Brandon, the Project Manager for the SYDC’s Fresh Start Program, said that each person who attended the training can possibly impact 10 to 15 other people in positive ways.

“I’m attending the training to gain more information regarding conflict resolution,” said Melvina Moss.

Moss, the

Rehabilitation Nurse Coordinator for the Children’s Rehabilitation Center, said that in her career, she sees many troubled youth.

“I have gained a wealth of knowledge on methods of problem solving and resolving conflicts,” she said. “This workshop has been very informative.”

Allen Jerome Sims agreed.

“This is my second week here in this community,” he said. “I always heard bad things about Selma, but it’s good to see something positive like this.”

Sims, who moved here from Georgia, works at the United Methodist Children’s Home as a group home supervisor.

“I learned that you have to look under the surface,” he said. “You have to go deeper to find out the source of the conflict. We’re dealing with conflicts with kids, and even conflicts with staff. This (training) will enhance our skills so that we can help them, help themselves.”

“I would like to see money become available so that we can implement a program in our school system that consists of an orientation at the beginning of each school term on conflict resolution and anger management (skills),” Hardy said.

“I hope this collaboration with the Mayor, Congressman Artur Davis, and the Youth Center sets an example for the rest of the community,” he said. “Through collaborating like this, we show people that your success is my success, and that we can all be successful by working together.”