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Carbondale MLK Day event focuses on young people

Published: Jan. 17, 2022 at 5:10 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 17, 2022 at 6:36 PM CST
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CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) - In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, leaders of a non-profit organization are working to positively impact kids and teens in Carbondale.

“We just hope to bring the community together under the umbrella of unity,” said Ledonn Smith, the founder of The Golden Path Foundation. “We wanted to do something to combat the violence going on. We wanted to promote a different message to the youth and let them know that we’re here for them. Just try to keep them on the straight and narrow.”

Smith and The Golden Path Foundation hosted a talent show for kids and teens that also featured musicians, a comedian and motivational speakers.

“It’s a part of my community and I also like to share my talents with other people,” said Jaylanique Douglas, a senior at Carbondale Community High School.

Douglas tumbled and performed a step dance. She said Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day means a lot to her.

“Dr. King, he made a lot of opportunities for me and with the end of segregation, he made it able for me to be a part of a diverse education and for me to grow up and be in the career that I want to be in as a young African American female,” said Douglas.

Smith said he hopes the young people at the celebration are encouraged to lead with love instead of violence, as Dr. King did when he was alive.

“We’re all for the same thing. We want to live. We want to thrive. We want our children to be safe. We all want the same things. We just need to realize that,” said Smith. “It’s still a battle that we’re dealing with today in our society unfortunately. We’ve come a long way, progressing, but there’s a long way to go.”

The Golden Path Foundation was created in June of 2021 to find solutions and resources for disadvantaged communities.

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