ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Money Gang Youth Empowerment Corporation Program is a mentorship program ran by Dontie S. Mitchell. He was granted clemency for armed robbery he committed as a 17-year-old. The program is designed to reach troubled youth and intervene before a life of crime can develop.
“Because I identify with being one of those kids and that’s one of the reasons why they end up going, you know, down that direction because they don’t have constant adult supervision,” said Mitchell.
He tells NEWS10 some of the situations these kids come from and how it could lead to bad choices.
“A lot of kids come from the impoverished communities and dysfunctional families Etc. and you’re basically throwing them into a situation where you expect them to just figure it out from right or wrong you might logically know the difference, but your circumstances don’t really help you make the proper decisions” Mitchell says consistency is key when trying to make a difference in these kids’ lives.
Julius sales is a young man enrolled in the program after recently being detained himself.
“He’s teaching me other ways, like I don’t just gotta be in the streets to make money. I could do it positive way like in the more we are in there passing out flyers, out here we are handing out water. It’s not always you don’t always got to gravitate to the street to make money,” said Sales.
NEWS10 reporter James De La Fuente then asked, “If you didn’t have this what would you be doing otherwise?”
“I’d probably still being in a non-secured detention, or I’ll probably be in the streets,” answered Sales.
Mitchell says he is basically a one-man army and is looking for support from the community. He says more assets are needed for programs like his.
“Providing them with that constant adult support and supervision but I’m only one person,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell feels there is a better way to support and correct youthful behavior and agrees with Raise the Age Law by saying, ““Kids matter you can’t say that after they commit a crime now it’s like okay you know lock them up and throw away the key when you had the opportunity to do something to prevent it and you did nothing.”