Former Jail Mentor Pushes Orange County Students to Avoid Violence: Before they make decisions that will change their lives, George Brown, a local youth mentor, is producing results for the teenagers in his neighborhood.
He advises them against using violence because his decisions as a young person landed him in jail for more than ten years. In Central Florida, more teenagers are getting their hands on firearms. Some go to prison before their lives start because they hurt or killed someone.
Teens dying from gun violence have been a recurring problem in Orange County. This includes Gamaine Brown, 19, who was shot and killed outside Jones High School during a football game. Shayla Ferguson, 16, who authorities believe was slain by the father of her kid, and Raniyah Gandy, 19, whose killer has yet to be apprehended.
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In 2005, Brown, the youth mentor, was convicted of involvement in a shooting and received a 30-year prison term. He was detained just one week after receiving his high school diploma. That, according to Brown, was his lowest point.
He claimed that even while he was imprisoned, life continued as usual. “I missed everything since my son was born while I was in jail,” he claimed. But after serving 15 years of his 30-year sentence, he was allowed to reenter society. He is now making the most of his second opportunity.
Brown stated that despite the odds against him, he never gave up. To keep teenagers on the straight and narrow, he mentors them and runs his own tax business in Orlando called Prolific Tax Services. He also lectures children in juvenile detention centers.
Delmonte Pryor, who is 19 years old, is one of his mentees. He plays football and is a college student with lofty ambitions. Due to Brown’s advice, Pryor claimed he was saying no to gun violence.
“I wouldn’t be the same person. Thus my life would change. That’s not how I would feel. I would be treated like a felon, and my freedom to do things would be restricted,” Pryor added. When Brown emphasizes that violence is not the solution, he hopes teenagers will pay attention.
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According to the New England Journal of Medicine, injuries from firearms will be the leading cause of mortality for kids between the ages of 1 and 19 in 2020. Just under 30% of deaths between 2019 and 2020 were attributable to firearms.