DEL PASO HEIGHTS (CBS13) — Investing in Sacramento’s Black youth: It’s a priority local Black leaders, and city officials are working hard to push since the shooting of Stephon Clark.
The Roberts Family Development Center in Del Paso Heights is plucking young adults off the streets and teaching them discipline and structure, in hopes of keeping them out of trouble.
It’s Rodreco “Reco” Mulkey’s first shot at something new, this summer. The 17-year old Grant High student is working his first job at the Roberts Family Development Center.
“I was so excited for my first job, to get my first paycheck,” he said.
Reco is one of 18 teens working for “Nightlife Turned Right”, an event that launched a few years ago where young adults can have fun while learning the importance of responsibility.
He’s employed through the city’s “Thousand Strong Program” and wears many hats — from supervising the skate park and basketball courts to greeting guests at the front gate.
Reco says having a job has kept him busy and out of trouble.
“Young people just need a positive place where they can hang out,” said Derrell Roberts, CEO of the Roberts Family Development Center.
Since “Nightlife Turned Right” launched three years ago, Roberts says hundreds of children and young adults have come out each week.
Roberts says Black youth need the community to invest in them more than ever since the Stephon Clark shooting.
“The reality is we should have already being doing that and talking about that all along,” Roberts said.
“I was one of those kids and it’s an honor to sit in a new chair and be able to do what I’ve seen happen and that’s being a mentor,” said Samuel Kinsey.
The Roberts Family Development Center is a cornerstone for many families around Del Paso Heights, and to Kinsey.
Kinsey says he would be lost if it wasn’t for Roberts’ vision. Now, he’s an aspiring politician.
“If you give those kids more opportunities to strive, they don’t have to fight for their lives they don’t have to struggle,” he said.
Reco now has the opportunity to shine and set a good example for his younger brothers.
“I’m sort of a father figure to them, so I just wanna keep that up so they know they have a good track to follow in the future,” he said.
Mayor Darrell Steinberg is hoping to expand a sales tax measure this November election, to create new programs and job opportunities for underserved neighborhoods.