Teacher joins fight against youth gun violence, launches summer music program

Police in metro Atlanta were busy over the weekend investigating a number of shootings. One of those shootings left a 12-year-old girl injured on Stone Road Saturday and another wounded a 16-year-old girl on Moury Avenue early Sunday.

As the end of the school year nears, a number of groups are answering the call from city leaders to try to keep kids safe this summer—including a local music teacher.

"Music is such a powerful tool when it comes to the youth they’re all on TikTok, they’re all doing the dances," James Weaver said.

With continued calls for an end to youth gun violence, Weaver says it is a problem he wants to help solve. That is why his organization, Southside Soul, is launching a five-week music camp this summer.

"My students will be learning how to make original music from scratch, and they’ll be talking about important topics that affect our community, whether that’s gun violence or mass incarceration," he explained.

Weaver says the goal is to get kids off the streets and into the studio. Students will learn how to write songs, produce, record, engineer, perform, and design.

"These outlets are very important for youth and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve seen less and less programs like that…I just think it’s productive, and it’s just a better alternative than just being outside hanging with the wrong crowd," Weaver continued. 

It is a program 15-year-old Omar Gause says he looks forward to each summer.

"Music is the easiest and best way for me to, like, express myself," Gause said.

There are a total of 30 spots available for kids ages 7 to 17. The Young and Gifted All Star Camp will go from June 5 to July 9. For more information about how to sign up or donate, click here.