Parents asked to take part in kids' lives

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - It's show time at the Boys and Girls Club talent show, and singer Niyah is up first.  The courageous little lady is a solo act, but she's not alone.  Her grandfather, Jesse Ford, watches proudly from the audience.

"You have to be there for them," Ford said.  "Kids coming up in our day choose to be out there lost in the streets.  And the streets shouldn't bring them up.  Parents should bring up their children."

Niyah's mom, LaKeisha Ford, is one of the many parents balancing work and family.  She couldn't stay for Friday's show, but made sure to bring Niyah herself to the performance.  She said work doesn't stop her from being active in the lives of her children, and making sure they have a strong support system of adults, no matter what.

"They will actually see that, Ok, Mommy is here supporting me, I can really do anything that I want to do.  And just that little encouragement helps them go on."

Staff at the Boys and Girls Club say not every child is so lucky.  In fact, they said it can be hard to get adults involved in the lives of youngsters.  That's one goal of their annual Day for Kids.  Locations county-wide held different events, inviting not only kids, but parents as well.

"There are some parents who are very positive when it comes to being involved in their children's lives," said Iola Wilborn, Andrew Johnson Unit Director in Pascagoula.  "And there are some parents, they see us as just a drop off place."

Marketing Communications and Technology Director Tayonka Thomas said she's noticed the trend as well.

"What we're trying to do is just bring parents in to get them involved in their kids' activities," Thomas said.  "Take them out, take them bowling, come to our celebration, watch them in the talent show, fashion show and play games with them."

Thomas said that simple effort goes a long way for a child.

"It makes them happier to actually say, 'I played with my Daddy today,' or 'I played with my Mommy today.'  It brightens their day."

LaKeisha Ford said she knows from experience being a working parent can be tough balancing act, but its one she's willing to make.

"It's all worth it," Ford said.  "Just to see my kids succeeding is very well worth it."

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