WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Earlier this year, Wichita Chief of Police Gordon Ramsay started working with youth in the area to make sure he and community members understood the challenges the teens face. KSN’s photojournalist, Raoul Cortez, sat in on Monday’s meeting and has their story, in their own words.
Chief Ramsey gathered us together a couple meetings ago and we are here today to listen to kids and teens in our communities and really understand what they’re going through so that we can create some sort of initiative or provide support,” said Ronn McMahon, President and CEO, Wichita YMCA. “We all know that we want our kids to be successful. We’re just trying to make that happen.”
“I think that a lot of adults — they kind of speak about gang violence and they say what they say but it’s kind of hard to relate because we are the ones that are dealing with it. It’s all in my generation,” said Nina Butler, student, Wichita East High School. “You hear from the youth and see their point of view and see their understanding of it.”
Officer Steve Jerrell, Wichita Police Department Patrol North was at the meeting as well.
“Some of these kids, you know, were talking about how someone followed them home from QuikTrip to turn their life around. We’re out on the street every day. All it takes sometimes is just one time to pull over and say, ‘Hey, how are you?’ ‘What are you doing this summer?’ So I hope that some members of our department can learn from that and take that extra second just to say ‘hi’.”
“The optimism is that we’re all here and we are all looking at,” said McMahon. “Can we fill some of those gaps and really provide the support kids need in today’s world.”
The group is still working out when their next meeting will be and what challenges the youth will want to address.