Laurel councilman focusing on youth for 'Brighter Tomorrows'

Laurel councilman focusing on youth for 'Brighter Tomorrows'

LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - A newly elected Laurel City Councilman is making it his mission to improve his ward by involving teens.

Jason Capers of Ward 1 made it his platform when elected back in the summer to serve, lead, mentor and invest in the younger generation.

"I'm so thrilled about positive things that are happening in our city and in our community," Capers said. "One of the reasons I ran for city council is I really wanted to be able to work with young people and encourage positive behavior. Not very long ago, tragically, we had two young men, ages 15 and 16, involved in an altercation and a young man was shot and killed."

Out of that heartbreaking story formed Brighter Tomorrows, a nonprofit aimed at changing the future by mentoring teens. The first service project was a success as teens were able to learn team-building and the reward of hard work.

"Young people showed up and we took an old abandoned city lot that had become trashy with old mattresses, toilets," Capers said. "The young people got out there with some awesome chaperones, and we cleaned up that lot and left flowers in its place, did a good work."

The project was completed on South 16th Avenue.

"And then we took the young people kayaking out at Bogue Homa Lake as a reward for their service," Capers said.

Capers plans to continue his mission to encourage youth by showing them the possibilities of change.

"A positive action, serving others, equals a positive reward," Capers said.

Capers is aiming to have one service project per month, and all teens are welcome to participate at no cost. Capers said the mission is being made possible with the help of local sponsors.

The Laurel City Council also voted Tuesday night to demolish a couple of dilapidated properties in the city, and gave a few homeowners a 90-day extension to clean up their properties before the city takes action.