ALBANY, Ga. -- Nichelle Miller isn't the type of person who's happy leaving things alone. Two years ago Miller, who does data entry for Jb Tax Services on East Broad Avenue, decided she didn't like the direction young people in Albany were taking.
"Every time you look at the news you see young people fighting or shooting each other -- breaking into cars," Miller said. "These kids need to know there's somebody out there who cares about them and is willing to help them find the right path."
Miller, 25, decided to try to help the situation, she said. She started a new non-profit organization called Taking it Back, Inc., to provide what she felt was a sorely needed beacon for misdirected youth.
"I did a lot research first," Millers said, "and I discovered there were about 600 501(c)3 (non-profit organizations) in Dougherty County already. But I thought we were still lacking for all the problems we still have."
During a youth meeting at the Police Department Community Center on East Oglethorpe Boulevard Saturday, area yougsters participated in program called "My Voice Matters," a question-and-answer session in what Miller called a gameshow format. These questions, however, were geared toward teen sexual activity and the dangers of transmitted diseases.
Athena King with the American Cancer Society was on hand to speak about HIV and HPV, which can cause cervical cancer. King even brought her 9-year-old daughter, Skye, to the discussion.
"I'm all for abstinence," King said, "But education is just as important. HIV has become more prevalent in Dougherty County. HPV can be spread just by casual contact."
Miller is planning a field trip to Valdosta State Prison on April 2, she said, for her next program, called "Reality Check." There, kids age 14 and up will have a chance to see what can happen to them if they stray from the "straight and narrow path."
According to Miller, her organization is funded entirely out of her own pocket, with some donations from churches and other organizations. She would, however, welcome volunteers and individual donations.
"It's not about me or any individual entities," Miller said. "It's how we can band together to help our kids."