. - MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The city of Myrtle Beach is partnering with other groups to develop an outreach initiative for teens, which includes giving them more resources, having teen-only events and possibly developing a smart phone app just for their age group.
The conversation was sparked by the rate of high school d ropouts, teen violence and gang activity at Myrtle Beach's parks.
"We want to help those who are struggling in school. We want to help them stay in school," said Myrtle Beach Recreation Director Pam Stone. "We want to help those who may be influenced by those who may be displaying negative behaviors."
The city's neighborhood and recreation divisions are working with Myrtle Beach fire, police, the Boys and Girls Club of the Grand Strand, and Horry County schools.
There is a need, city officials said, for combining resources between all groups to share what everyone offers in one place, which include like teen job programs, literacy programs and planned activities.
The organizations have met twice so far to talk about their efforts.
They hope to create a type of newsletter to spread to the community, and perhaps develop a smartphone app that teens can use to access a resource guide and see a calendar to teen-only events the city is sponsoring.
At the end of the day, though, Stone said a group of adults just can't speak for and decide what teenagers want.
"I think it's important that you get the teens involved. You need to ask them what it is they want to do, what it is they would participate in and what they feel has value to them," she said. "Then, we develop a program around that, but we use their leadership."
The Boys and Girls Club is also beginning to get teens together in focus groups so they have their own voice when it comes to what they want and need as far as resources and activities.