Group seeks to reach at-risk youth in Preston Hollow
By Kyle Barnett - Feb 21, 2013
A meeting in response to recent violence in St. Rose was held last week by local residents.
A number of St. Rose residents convened at the Charlestowne Clubhouse as speakers detailed plans to work against violence that has riddled the community where three out of the past four murders in the parish have occurred.
The meeting was put together by Reshaunda Blanks, a former resident of the Preston Hollow neighborhood in St. Rose. Blanks was incarcerated as a teenager for shooting a woman and later lost custody of three out of her four children before turning her life over to God a few years ago.
In 2011, Blanks’ disabled great-grandmother was killed in her home on Mockingbird Lane in St. Rose when a man broke in and lit the house on fire in retaliation against her uncle over a drug deal. In addition, Damian Blanks, Reshaunda’s younger brother, was held in the Nelson Coleman Correctional Facility for a shooting that occurred early last year and was later sentenced to ten years in jail as a felon possessing a firearm.
Darrell Taylor, a former heroin addict who spent 19 years in Angola for armed robbery, spoke about his past and the changes he has made in his life since being released from jail.
The meeting was aimed at planning future events to reach at-risk youths in some of the more crime-ridden neighborhoods of the parish and turning them down the right path.
Renee Williams, of Truth of Grace Ministries in Luling, said she and her husband try to reach those in the community who need it the most.
She said just as Blanks and Taylor were able to turn around their lives, so can others who people may think are the least likely to do so.
"When people may think that a person will never change, I’m a witness to what kind of change people can undergo. I have a dad who is 70 years old. Me and my husband, we labored with my daddy," Williams said. "He was cured of crack cocaine for 31 years and now to this day if you see this man you will not believe unless you know God for yourself what he can do."
Blanks said she is currently in the process of planning more events aimed at stemming violence in the community.
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