Residents interested in helping youth, mentoring children and working to reduce crime met during a second town hall style meeting Tuesday.
Close to 50 people of different ages and backgrounds attended the event held at the Resurrection of Goldsboro church on East Ash Street.
The goal, said Bobby Harvey, was to unite together through a common purpose to improve conditions in the city.
"Most of the heavy lifting is supposed to be done by us, so I really need everybody to look in their hearts and start figuring out how you can change your community and keep your community safe," Harvey said. "I just want it to get back to the time when your mother, your grandmother could sit on the porch and not worry about things.
"Instead of just talking about it, we've been thinking of some things, putting some things together to try to put a clear cut plan of action together to take back our streets and take back some of the lives of these young guys."
Harvey said many youth are crying out for help and some just want to feel as though there are opportunities in life.
The increasing prevalence of crime was discussed but more of a focus centered on opportunities to help area children, youth, as well as young adults through mentoring, job training, volunteer opportunities and local activities.
Jermaine Dawson, who organized the meeting with his wife, Nicolette, talked about Goldsboro's new summer youth job program that will offer kids age 14 to 18 jobs starting at $7.25 and hour. The jobs will be available through the Goldsboro Parks and Recreation Department, the Goldsboro Housing Authority and Wayne Community College. Applications and details will become available in early April on the city's website, said Mayor Chuck Allen. Allen, along with the rest of the Goldsboro City Council, attended Tuesday's meeting to listen to concerns and solutions voiced by residents.
Mark Colebrook announced a new initiative, Operation Unite Goldsboro, which will seek to pull together local organizations and groups that offer programs to area children and youth.
"There's a number of nonprofit organizations out there that are doing things on an individual basis and we're making such a small impact," Colebrook said.
"This is a grassroots effort and the goal is to unite everything that we are doing so that when we go to the city council or the county commission or we go to the board of education, we will have our own strategic plan."
Nicky Jarman, with the Maximizing Our Real Experiences Youth Movement, said there are many organizations already offering programs but they are working separately.
"We need to get some type of information out so that people know what's going on in Goldsboro," Jarman said. "If we can connect all these youth programs together we can get something going on. We work in isolation and we have to stop doing that."
Jarman also said programs need to be available to help youth when they graduate from high school.
Keith Copeland said that while opportunities are available to children, a greater focus needs to be on young adults between the ages of 19 and 25.
"When we start talking about programs, we need to think about people in that age group," Copeland said. "That age group -- 19 to 25 -- that is the age group we have the least resources for.
"I would like to see there be some effort to do something with that age group because that age group, really, is the one that's creating a lot of problems, but they don't have anything else to do."
Copeland said youth need to have greater goals in life than just focusing on high school graduation. He also supports the ban-the-box movement where job applications do not include areas where applicants are required to disclose criminal convictions. Applicants, instead, are judged based on their qualifications for the job.
Also at the meeting was Maj. Anthony Carmon, with the Goldsboro Police Department. Carmon updated the group on the department's effort to fill more than a dozen officer job vacancies. He also offered advice on how to reduce area crime.
"We're trying to branch to be more proactive and not as much reactive," Carmon said. "To be proactive, it puts us out in the community, puts us in the neighborhoods talking to people, and that's where we get our information, from the citizens."
Carmon said the key in solving and preventing crime is through public interaction, tips and witnesses who call in to report problems.
"If you see something going on, call us," Carmon said. "You don't have to identify yourself. Just let us know. If you will call, we will come. That is guaranteed."
During the meeting, Kimberly Best shared concern about her daughter's employment at the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market on Tommy's Road. Her daughter was sick Saturday when the store's gas station was robbed at gunpoint.
Best said she is concerned enough to start patrolling the area herself.
After the meeting, Best said she thought the event was helpful in getting out information about youth programs and other crime prevention efforts.
"I learned a lot," she said. "It's still a long way to go but I thought this was a start to get in the right direction with resources."
Other town hall meetings will be planned in the future, Dawson said. Operation Unite Goldsboro will also have a meeting on April 10, at 6:30 p.m. at Rebuilding Broken Places, 2105 N. William St.