GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Boys and Girls Club is a place where children from the ages of 5 - 18 can come and feel safe. However, members at the Gulfport Club may have a harder time feeling that way.
"It's a sad thing that it's all happening in our community," said Boys and Girls Club Mentor, Deontae Mickell. "We're just trying to keep it positive here in the Boys and Girls Club. It's a place where our younger generation can come and grow up in."
Twenty-year-old Deontae Mickell is home from Alcorn State University for the summer, but rather then spending his time resting, he's back at the center.
"I've been here since I was 5 years old. Basically, it's like your own home, your second home. You have all your family and friends here, so It's just like a positive environment," said Mickell.
Members say that they're not only at the Boys and Girls Club to avoid some of the troubles of the outside world, but to encourage and inspire some of the younger members.
"I'm at my third year of college right now, so I just come back and give back to the younger kids and help them stay positive. We have a bunch of programs to keep us positive, gives us smart moves to make smart decision and everything like that," said Mickell.
Boys and Girls Club members say they will continue to come together and encourage positive influences among the Gulfport community until a solution to the violence is found.
"Being a member of the Boys and Girls Club, you do positive things. You don't engage in the negativity that goes around," said mentor, Khalil Gowan.