GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Crime maps show the rates of violent crimes just over the past six months, and a large number of them - including homicide, robbery, and assault - are committed by youth and young adults.
"It's important that we all come together in this community to stop this stuff and try to start to these kids pull them aside and just talk to them," former NFL player Irving Spikes said.
Spikes is no stranger to heading down the wrong path. Following his four-year stint with the Miami Dolphins, he spent five years in federal prison.
"I've been through so many things in my life things I put myself through," Spikes said.
Now, Spikes and his fraternity brothers are using the 'Waking up the Heart Workshop' at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church to making sure others don't make the same mistakes.
"Overall, just being mentors to everybody if they need help or someone to talk to," Spikes said.
Teens who were there say it won't be an easy task.
"It would take a lot of hard work to get the youth to come into church to try to turn their life around," said high school junior Jamal Myers.
But, it's a challenge Spikes doesn't mind facing.