DUNCAN, Okla._Duncan Middle School students got a dose of reality Friday thanks to one man on a mission.
Lennie Orrell, a former gang member in Philadelphia, came to the school Friday afternoon to talk to kids about the dangers of bullying and gang membership. Orrell represents the "stand for something" outreach program and is a contributor for the documentary "If Streets Could Talk."
Orrell said ever since Chris Lane was murdered last summer, he's seen a community that's been rattled to the core. He said it's not only healthy, but necessary to have a conversation about warning signs of gang activity and he felt Duncan kids were the best ones to get it started.
"It's not an "I' problem now, it's a "we" problem as a community," said Orrell.
He's been shot multiple times and left for dead in the streets of Philadelphia. Now after receiving a tracheotomy, colostomy and prosthetic leg later, he says he's blessed to be alive. "I fought for my life. This is my reality."
Now his mission is to teach kids about gang membership and how to learn the warning signs in others. For some, gang activity is a growing problem in the city.
"I do know it's around way more than what any of us really know."
"I think it's a concern, yes."
But Duncan Police Chief Danny Ford says gang related crimes are actually down, "It's not near a level that gives any kind of problem or a problem that's significant." Ford credits good teamwork between officers and members of the community when crime does strike. But Orrell couldn't ignore the light that Duncan was put in internationally last year, and now he wants to educate them about these dangerous lifestyles and he's starting with kids.
It's something Duncan's leaders are on board with. "It tends to take the mystique out of it. I think it's very very important to do those things," said Chief Ford.
"Anything you can do to educate them and give them more ideas or suggestions on how not to fall into those things, I think is good," said Gene Brown, Mayor of Duncan.
"If we don't fight for our babies, who will?" said Orrell
Orrell's talk with Duncan Middle School's students was definitely appreciated. One student even stood among the rest just to say thank you. If you'd like to check out Orrell's message to kids about gang prevention just click here.