City, County managers take gang talks to the lecture hall

City, County managers take gang talks to the lecture hall

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - One of UNCW's Health and Human Services classes hosted a special forum Thursday. The session was titled “Youth Violence as a Public Health Issue”.

Jenni Harris, UNCW's Assistant to the Chancellor for Community Partnerships served as a moderator for the forum.

A panel of five local leaders including Wilmington City Manager Sterling Cheatham and New Hanover County Manager Chris Coudriet, talked to students about the issues of youth violence and gang activity in the Cape Fear region.

Cheatham told the students that the youth violence problem was the responsibility of the entire community.

Additional panel members preached the need for private sector funding for community organizations and positive role models in urban neighborhoods.

They said the root of the youth violence problem was poverty. Several UNCW students asked questions about the topic as well.

"You're always striving to improve and that's really encouraging because there are still issues at hand," said student Kaitlyn Andrews. 

Cheatham said the university and its students serve a very useful purpose in the community.

"It provides a much greater cross-section of individuals to come and engage and this was just another opportunity to talk to more youthful individuals about the future of their community," he added.

Jenni Harris, UNCW Assistant to the Chancellor for Community Partnerships, said that a lot of the university's classes require students to complete service learning assignments in the community.

"This isn't just a one person or one department issue. It's everybody working together and collaborating and Sterling [Cheatham] made mention of that before. It's a community issue and we all have to do it together," Harris said.

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