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'Show Us Your Guns' program gives young adults a second chance

Dushawn Gould and Brandon Leon graduate Thursday from the 'Show Us Your Guns' program (Credit: Anna Hughes/WTGS).{ }
Dushawn Gould and Brandon Leon graduate Thursday from the 'Show Us Your Guns' program (Credit: Anna Hughes/WTGS).
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Thursday was graduation day for the "Show Us Your Guns" youth diversion program, a partnership between the district attorney’s office and Savannah Feed the Hungry. The program was initiated in February of 2022 for young adults charged with gun possession offenses where the gun was not used during the crime.

For the past year, graduates Dushawn Gould and Brandon Leon have spent their Thursday nights at the Empowerment Center, completing the SUYG program. They graduate from the program with new friends, new skills, and a new outlook on life.

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“It gives me a great sense of pride because I saw them when they came in. You know, they’re fearful, this is something new for them," SUYG facilitator Karen Williams said.

The year-long program teaches these select men and women soft skills and helps them declare a new beginning in life.

Williams, who runs the program, said it’s been a success so far.

“I’m glad to say all of them, if they did not have employment when they got here, they’ve already, even before they’ve completed, gained employment," Williams said.

Gould started the program when he was expecting his first child, and during that time has moved up at his job, expanded his horizons, and moved forward toward his goal of providing for his family.

“It means to be stepping over a milestone. Declaring your victory over whatever it was in the beginning that you needed to handle," Gould said.

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The program emphasizes finding the root of criminal behavior and offering a holistic approach to justice.

“If you get to the root of the problem, you know how to approach them. You’ll know how to direct them and what resources are necessary. One may be housing, one may be family support system, one may be jobs," Williams said.

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Officials from the DA’s office, Rep. Carl Gilliard, and current students in the program attended to support the graduates and congratulate them on their new life.

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