Mar. 12, 2020

March 12, 2020
By Monde Donaldson Call to Order​: The meeting was called to order by President Tom McGehee at 12:15 p.m. Christopher Jones offered the invocation and Tommy Blankenship led the club in the song and pledge accompanied by Bill Oppenheimer. Student Guest:​ Milliah Lilly of Vigor High School was introduced by Jeff Luther as Student of the Week. New Member: ​Neil Christopher was introduced by Bob Chappelle. Announcements:​ In keeping with our mission to help fund projects in the community, the Environmental Studies Center was awarded a $3,000 grant.
Program: Judge Edmond Naman, Presiding Judge Mobile County Juvenile Court
“The Effect of Community Collaboration on the Mobile County’s Declining Juvenile Crime Rates”
He was introduced by Norman McCrummen.
Judge Edmond Naman began his talk describing the challenges he saw in the juvenile court when he took the bench in 2007. Sharing statistics, Judge Naman stated that in 2008-2009 there were 12 murders and 70 first degree robberies committed by children under the age of 16. Our violent crime rate was higher than Birmingham, Montgomery and Huntsville combined. Drugs, violent crimes and property crimes were the highest in the state, he said.
Realizing it was “like a war zone”, Judge Naman began to reach out to community partners to see what could be done to curb violent crime and to help these young people who were in crisis. That’s when he and Norman McCrummen began to look for ways to provide stability for these offenders but to show them a different path. In 2010 NEST was born. NEST is a local mentoring program that matches teams of community volunteers with at risk youth and families. A NEST consists of two or more court appointed volunteers. NEST works with the Mobile County Juvenile Court and the Department of Human Resources and partnering agencies to match teams with youth referrals. The team and youth and family work together during the court appointed probationary period or a designated period of six months or more. The hope is that the team and family will develop a lifetime relationship.
Judge Naman said the teams are everyday citizens. They are the catalyst to change failures to successes for these children. Since the inception of NEST, there has been a 300% decline in youth crimes. He cited several agencies that have worked with youth such as the Boys and Girls Club, Keep Mobile Beautiful, Mobile Urban Gardens and the Galliard Summer Program that are positively impacting these young lives.
He encouraged others to become servant leaders. It is because we reached out and said help that this community has swelled around us, he explained. These volunteers are making an impact on these young lives, he said, thanking all for their support of NEST.
Adjournment​: The meeting was adjourned at 1:00 p.m.