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Two Columbus men combatting youth violence

Two Columbus men combatting youth violence
Published: Feb. 4, 2022 at 11:23 AM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - When it comes the uptick in crime, many parents blame a lack of activities for youth.

Two men in the community are changing that narrative by creating ways to keep kids off the streets. The average person in Columbus says there’s not a lot of activities for the youth.

“There is a tremendous need, a tremendous need, for the youth to get involved,” said Darryl Carter who also teaches at Rainey-McCullers School of the Arts.

Two men are stepping up to keep children’s mind off of violence. One of those men is Anthony Lee, who opened Next Level Entertainment, a gaming lounge in January.

The lounge has several stations with X-box and PlayStation systems, Nintendo Switches and a place for people to dance to TikToks.

“We have every station with customized controllers. I customize every controller so everybody won’t get them mixed up at different stations,” said Columbus resident Anthony Lee.

Lee says youth visiting also learn entrepreneur skills through one of his programs.

“We are just trying to show young kids that they can be entrepreneurs as well starting off at a young age,” said Lee. “There’s never an age that’s too early to learn how to be an entrepreneur.”

Carter, on the other hand bought The Elms, a historic cottage on Buena Vista Road. Carter plans to transform The Elms into an event center for kids. His inspiration comes from his mentors.

“I can think about all these guys saying ‘Darryl, you can do it.’ They never stopped,” said Carter. “And and I think that’s what we have to give to these guys in our community now.”

Games like corn hole and pool will also be offered at The Elms. Both men are encouraging others to also help the youth.

“Let’s put our heads together to come up with activities that they’re interested in so that we can kind of curtail this crime and gang activity that we’re experiencing,” said Carter.

Carter says he hopes renovations will be complete within the next year or two. Anyone interested in helping with those renovations can reach out to Carter via email at Darryl.carter4@gmail.com or call 706-570-8698.

Anyone interested in renting out Next Level Entertainment gaming lounge can call 706-580-7346 for information. Next Level Entertainment can also be rented for birthday parties and for lock-ins, where children are able to stay overnight for a fee.

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