Businessman giving teens something to do other than trouble - - The News for South Mississippi

Businessman giving teens something to do other than trouble


A South Mississippi businessman said instead of just complaining about juvenile crime, it's time the community came together for a solution. So starting this Friday and every Friday after, Tommy Anderson plans to open a safe space for kids and teens to hang out.

Sanding. Painting. Hanging lights. Anderson said a lot of the motivation for the renovation of a building on 31st Avenue is to get young people off the streets of Gulfport causing trouble.

"Everybody was pointing fingers. The kids are doing this. The kids are doing that," Anderson said. "I said to myself I was a kid at one time. We was always misjudged. I understand what the kids are going through."

Just For You will host dances, karaoke, giveaways and talent contests, but it won't be all fun and games. Anderson said motivational speakers will talk to the young people about making good choices.

"We can educate them on how they should act out in the streets," said Anderson. "If they cause problems in here we know they're going to cause problems out there so we can stop them right here and put something on their minds instead of just trying to chastise them."

Sarah Coffman is the PTA vice president at West Elementary where Anderson puts on dances. She said she wanted to help him help keep kids safe.

"I think that's the only way that it's going to work is if the parents, the teachers, the local businessmen. Everybody has to work together," said Coffman.

Anderson said, "I tell you parents if you want a place where your kids can go and have a good time and get out of all of this chaos out in the world, drop them off. If you need to bring them here to stay with them and make sure everything is fine with them, it's okay. We're all working at this as one."

Just For You will host activities for elementary school children on Fridays from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. Then for middle and high schoolers from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m. Admission is $5 and owners said there will be security.

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