A St. Rose non-profit group will shepherd local children and young adults from at-risk communities through a tour of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola in order to show them the importance of avoiding a life of crime.
While at Angola, the children will hear about the horrors of jail life from several prisoners who are serving life sentences. Those prisoners will also share their personal stories about how they ended up behind bars.
The Dr. K Movement, which will ferry the children to Angola by bus, was started in 2012 by Anthony Straughter, a convicted felon who spent four years behind bars for dealing marijuana. Straughter began the non-profit in order to keep children from taking the same missteps he and others have.
“I don’t want them to have to learn the hard way like I learned the hard way,” Straughter said.
In picking Angola, where nearly 75 percent of the 5,100 inmates are serving life in prison, Straughter said he wanted the kids to experience the worst possible scenario.
“If we go to Angola it will be the real deal and they won’t know anyone in there. Seeing people who are serving life is different than seeing them in Nelson Coleman (in St. Charles Parish) for 60 days,” he said.
The bus trip to Angola will take place on Friday, June 20. In order to entice those who ordinarily would not be able to make such a trip, all expenses are being paid by The Dr. K Movement.
“Everything is free,” Straughter said. “To top it off I am going to let them eat in the jail and eat what the inmates eat.”
The program will also feature invited speakers who will talk to the children throughout the trip.
“They are going to be motivational speakers. There are going to be people mentoring them and talking to them about real life issues,” Straughter said.
About 40 children have signed up so far and there is space for 50 more people to make the trip.
“We are letting a lot of the model students go just to remind them (to stay out of trouble), but we are targeting at-risk youth who might be getting in trouble at school,” Straughter said.
Straughter hopes the trip to Angola will drive home the point that the students need to stay on the right side of the law.
“A lot of people grew up in the neighborhood and never really had a father and feel like there isn’t someone there who cares about them. We want to let them know that we do care,” he said. “My hope is to touch someone and get through to them so they don’t have to go through things that are typical in the black community.”
For those who would like to send their child on the trip or donate to the cause, Straughter can be contacted by phone at (504) 813-2915. You can also email The Dr. K Movement at email@example.com.
To learn more about The Dr. K Movement, visit www.drkmovement.org or www.umustlearn.com where t-shirts designed by those within the organization can be purchased. Funds raised through the sale of the t-shirts will go towards funding the trip.