ELKHART — A new nonprofit group that hopes to curb violence, prevent teen pregnancies and improve neighborhoods will make an appearance at the annual Back-2-School Elkhart event Saturday, July 27, at Concord Mall.
My Hood Needz Me founder Jermaine Sanders hopes to spread the word about his organization to children and their families at the backpack and school supply giveaway.
He will be at the back-to-school event starting at 9 a.m. with information about the group and how people can get involved. Sanders will also man the soundstage at the event, where he will be introducing entertainment, making announcements and even performing a couple of songs.
Sanders was born and raised in Elkhart, but he said his hometown is “just not what it used to be.” He started building the foundation for My Hood Needz Me in mid-June, but after a 16-year-old Elkhart boy, Braxton Barhams, was shot and killed June 24, the urgency to jump into action increased.
“This used to be a very safe place to raise children, and I’m really just a hometown boy who’s seeing his village crumble,” Sanders said. “Through prayer, God had revealed to me that it’s really based off of value when people make decisions in life whether to engage in premarital sex, join gangs or sell drugs. They do these things based off of value or lack of value.”
Sanders said he hopes to help people realize their self-worth and lead fulfilling lives through GED, literacy and parenting classes as well as after-school programs for kids.