Carrie Brown knows what it’s like to be a kid in Canton.
Brown, 40, who is the interim director for the city’s youth development department and looking to take that spot for good, spent 25 years living in what used to be Highland Park (now Skyline Terrace).
At one point in her life, Brown said, she got into the gang scene because of a lack of youth programming in the area.
“I’ve seen the gangs and the violence that affected the families and that gives me passion,” she said.
The youth development department, which operates out of the Edward “Peel” Coleman Community Center, 1400 Sherrick Rd. SE, develops an array of youth and family programming and events — including tutoring programs and basketball leagues.
For the past three years, Brown worked with former director James Keys to develop and maintain programming and the center itself. And now she’s looking to go from interim director to director.
According to her resume, Brown coordinated community breakfasts and back to school events among other things.
Brown said as soon as she and Keys first started their new positions they started Project Turnaround. The idea was simple, determine what the department and center needed and get it.
And, if hired, Brown said she will continue under that strategy, driving toward getting more partnerships and programs for the city’s youth.
Making strong partnerships and developing a network of several agencies around the community is the base for improving programming and ultimately helping kids, she said. And that’s what she is planning to do if she lands the job.
“I would love to see a variety of things (programs) that would cover the totality of who a person is or could be,” she said.
Specifically, Brown is planning on putting on community forums throughout the year to educate the community but also get them involved in making the area better.
Brown hasn’t just worked with and for kids in the department though.
In a recommendation letter from Wanda Grubbs, principal at Crenshaw Middle School, Grubbs, praised Brown for her work in a program at Mckinley High School called Lunch and Learn, which Brown conducted through The Prepared Athlete Inc.. Grubbs was a principal at the high school during the time the program took place.
“As the facilitator of the Lunch and Learn groups, Ms. Brown coached students about more than just how to demonstrate positive character traits in school. She worked to develop students as life-long thinkers. She provided guidance, wisdom, and counsel to our ninth grade students based upon the various challenges they presented.”
Brown said she also works with youth out of state and even out of the country, doing outreach work in places like Florida and sitting on the board for the Phillip Fongod Foundation, a foundation dedicated to fighting childhood HIV/AIDS in Africa.
Brown has earned associate’s degrees in paralegal studies and criminal justice from Brown Mackie College.