SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) - Some former Sikeston football players hope to help stop violence in their community through a summer football camp.
"All these young kids dying for no reason, it's very important that they understand there is a purpose in life," Tyger Boyd said.
Mark Blissett and Justin Robinson are the organizers of the JRMB 1st Annual Youth Football Camp. They say the two-day program is all about getting teens and pre-teens to set goals and focus on their future. At the same time, they hope to help curb the recent trend of violence in the community.
The young athletes are learning football techniques from some of southeast Missouri's best, however it's not all about the skills. It's also about changing the community from the inside out.
"You can have all the speed, all the height in the world but without footwork you could do nothing with it," Kyjuan Jackson said.
"You've got to be ready. You've got to be focused for anything that can happen." Corian Minner said.
Their coaches are former Sikeston Bulldogs and many went on to play college football. Born and raised here, they say they didn't like what was happening to their community.
"There was a rise in violence within a six month time frame," Blissett said.
So they're using what they know best, the game of football, to help curb the trend of violence in Sikeston.
"They have to have dreams and you can never dream too big," Boyd said.
"We just want to show that there are still people around here that care and still got the kids' back," Robinson said.
So, through the sweat, hard work, determination, and a little encouragement, these kids are paving their own way to a brighter future for themselves and the community.
"I didn't even know I could do all this stuff that I can do and now I know I can do it if I put my mind to it," Minner said.
This is the first year for the camp but Robinson and Blissett say it won't be the last.