Giving back and spreading a positive message to youth is the mission of Operation We Care, a group of men and women committed to changing the lives of area youth by encouraging them to get off the streets and into college.
"We are trying to get the kids from self-destruction and letting them know there are other ways of getting them out of their living condition besides the NFL, NBL and major league basketball – college is an option," mentor Carlos Bradford said. "We are trying to get them to look outside of the box."
Mentors will be encouraging youth to turn away from negative behavior by offering their message, fellowship and food at 1 p.m., Saturday.
Along with local clergy, they will speak to adolescents and youth while offering free chili dogs to be served at the park across from Greater St. Paul Church in Minden.
"We grew up on Crighton Hill," Tavia Martin said. "I live in Shreveport and have another brother that coaches at Minden High School. We were born and raised here. My mother passed away in her sleep, and I raised them from 11 and 12 years old and up.
"They became involved in gangs and through prayer and change they were reformed," she continued. "This is something that they survived, but they had several of their friends that got killed and several that went to jail and are just getting out of jail at 30 something. It is something we want to give back to the community that they were born and raised in."
Bradford said his experience as an adolescent not only taught him valuable lessons but also saw others go to college, while some got caught in the judicial system and turned their lives around.
"We want to do what we can for the community to stop our youth from going in and out of prison or getting killed," Bradford said.
"I live in Dallas and have been talking to kids at schools, but now I realize it is my own community that needs saving," Bradford continued. "I am trying to put this together as year around – 365 days a year, that we are making a positive impact on the youth's life."