Operation HOPE was began in 1995 as an after school program. Today, it boasts an average of 80 students every day who come through their doors looking for hope.
Bruce Hussey, founder, provided us with statistics from Madison County.
- 30% of children in Madison County live in poverty.
- There are 40 gangs and subsets of gangs in Madison County that recruit children as young as ten. Some families teach children as young as 5 how to act as look outs.
- In 2012, 779 committed juvenile offenses.
- 84% of Operation HOPE's children come from single-parent homes, many with two jobs who are forced to leave their children at home unsupervised.
- High school drop outs are eight times more likely to go to jail.
"We're growing up a generation that's being influenced by the world." Bruce Hussey challenged everyone in attendance to find a way to connect with this generation and provide positive role models. He quoted a man who works in a similar situation in New York, "It's easier to build boys and girls than it is to fix men and women."
To learn more about Operation HOPE or to find out how you can volunteer to make a difference in our own town, visit their facebook page or call 731-664-4673.