Boys and Girls Club program to thwart youth violence

Guitars Not Guns

By: , WKRG

More and more teens are charged with shootings and other crimes in Mobile.

The Boys and Girls Club is trying to combat the trend.

Kids at the Boys and Girls club on Cody Road are making music. It’s all a way to encourage them to pursue performing arts or another passion to keep them out of trouble.

“The goal is to get kids off the street, and provide them an opportunity about playing the guitar,” said Cory Penn, the director of the Boys and Girls Club, Kiwanis Branch.

The program is called Guitars Not Guns. It’s a six- to eight-week program at the Kiwanis and Cody Road locations. The kids have the chance to take the guitars home at the end of the course so they can continue to explore music.

Public Safety Director Lawrence Battiste told us earlier this year there’s been an increase in violence in Mobile. Teenagers as young as 15 have been charged with murder.

“We don’t want our kids on the streets. The murder and killing are high enough as it is,” Gregory Finley said.


Finley, who performs under the name Pap-Star, teaches guitar at the Boys and Girls club.

“We want to give them alternatives, you know, guitar. Music is really on the rise especially here in Mobile, the music scene is really growing,” Finley said.

guitars not guns

One of his students, Israel, has been playing for a few months. She says she’s really enjoying the chance to learn the instrument.

“It’s really exciting — this program means a lot to me,” she said.

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