Nashville teen opens up about turning his life around to help other middle Tennessee kids

Nashville teen opens up about turning his life around to help other middle Tennessee kids (FOX 17 News)

Youth crime in Nashville is up almost 10 percent this year over 2016, according to a check of Metro Nashville Police statistics on Wednesday.

More than two dozen children and teenagers between 12 and 17 years-old are currently in the Davidson County Juvenile Detention Center. Metro Police said Nashville kids had been involved in more than 100 robberies since the beginning of the year.

Eries Banks, 18, graduated from Hunters Lane High School in May, but not before landing in the Davidson County Juvenile Detention Center.

“When I got into the 7th grade that's when I really started getting in trouble, trouble,” Banks said. “A little assault charge, and I had some curfew and drug charges.”

Banks revealed why he got into crime so young.

“I really didn't have nobody there that I really looked up to, that I had by my side at the time,” Banks said. “So I went and picked some friends that liked the same stuff I liked and could relate to me. We just kicked it back and did stuff we’re not supposed to do.”

Banks said things changed after he got involved in the REAL program at the Oasis Center in Nashville.

“They gave me a new way to look at situations and just a mindset and that's what really inspired me to change,” Banks said. “If I’m my own boss, I don't have to listen to nobody or be in the streets and take orders from nobody.”

Bishop Marcus Campbell runs the program, Gentleman and Not Gangsters or G.A.N.G.

“When I went to jail, and I joined a gang called gangster disciples,” Campbell said. “I'm just like these kids. I understand everything they're going through. I'm trying to show them that love, give them that opportunity or that outlet to open up.”

That’s Yolanda Hockett’s mission as she steers kids and teens in a better direction with programs inside juvenile detention.

“They need at least one responsible adult that cares,” Hockett said. “Going to stand by them through thick and thin. And they need something positive to do.”

Banks said he and his mom are looking forward to the future. Currently he has a job working with kids in the YMCA Fun Company, helping to steer others kids away from the path he went down.

“Don't follow the crowd ,” Banks said. “Do your own. Step outside the crowd, and let everybody look at you and want to be in your circle and you set the tone.”

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