GOLDSBORO, N.C. (WNCN) — In a small town it can be hard to escape tragedy.
“I think that’s what makes it so hard. You do know somebody who knows everybody. It hits close to home,” Karen Sullivan, the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club, said.
A mural of Joyonna Pearsall sits on the side of her uncle’s auto shop in Goldsboro.
On April 12th, someone shot and killed the 15-year-old at a pool party. Five other teenagers were hurt.
“I did not know Joyonna. Some of our staff remembered her. She had been a club kid a few years ago,” Sullivan said. “It’s hard when any kid in the community is a victim to something like this.”
She said a big part of the club’s mission is to keep children in the community safe.
“I think that there’s a lot of confusion with kids when things like that happen. They just don’t understand the why? Which none of us do,” Sullivan said. “But they don’t understand ‘is it safe?’ ‘Is it safe for me to be at home?’ ‘Is it safe for me to be at school?’ ‘Where’s it safe for me to be?'”
She continued, “It’s hard because you want to assure them that they are safe. That’s what we try to create at the Boys and Girls Club.”
She also said it’s events like Saturday’s Pig in the Park that helps create opportunities.
It’s an annual barbecue pork cook-off. The money raised goes directly to programs for the kids at the Boys and Girls Club.
“It helps us run programs like Passport to Manhood and Smart Girls and Smart Moves, which is an emotional wellness program. What we offer to this community at this club is a future,” Sullivan said.
Pig in the Park organizers will start selling barbecue plates at 11:00 a.m. Saturday at the Boys and Girls Club location in Goldsboro.