Blue Coats Spread Message of Non-Violence to Erie Students - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

Blue Coats Spread Message of Non-Violence to Erie Students

Posted: Updated:
Reports of gunfire and shootings often make headlines on the evening news.  Erie area residents who hear the frequent reports may feel helpless to stop the violence. A group of local men known as the Blue Coats is doing something about it. 

The group began ten years ago as "The Non-Violence Initiative" out of the Parade Street Community Center.  Pastor Robert Gaines of Abundant Life Ministries at East 8th and Parade Street had the vision to recruit and train men of faith for the job.  The number of volunteers is growing and the men committed to the mission have developed a partnership with Erie's Public Schools.

The group had blue jackets made with the words "Non-Violence Initiative" written in bold white letters across the back.  Students at Wayne school gave them their nickname, the Blue Coats.

Their blue coats and hoodies make them easy to spot outside Erie's Public Schools every day. They are building relationships with students in the morning, afternoon and at lunchtime outside of ten Erie elementary, middle and high schools.  Principals and students agree they are impacting school culture and individual lives. 

"I cannot underscore the impact, the positive impact that this program has had on our students here at Strong Vincent and on our school culture," said Principal Scherry Prater.  Prater said there are factions within her school, eastside, westside, but the Blue Coats seem to be able to give the students the opportunity to drop their differences at the door before they walk in the building and to help them resolve conflict in ways that school officials can't. "When we address it here at school, it's perceived as punitive," said Prater.  "When they do it in that manner, outside of school, it's perceived as proactive."

Some of the newer blue coats are former troubled kids who turned things around and  are motivated to keep younger kids on a good path. Divone Jones, who volunteers outside of Wayne School is one of the success stories.  As a student, he was in trouble 38 times in one school year before the Blue Coats message of non-violence got through.  "I could have probably been killed, been in jail somewhere, they just changed that around for me," said Jones. "They came in my life, helped me out, sat me in the office told me like this is right from wrong and said if you keep going this way you might not survive," added Jones.

Divone's brother, Josh Jones, is working to be part of the solution too.  He meets students outside of Pfeiffer-Burleigh Elementary. "I get so many kids that run up to me and ask me who I am and why am I here, I say I'm non-violent and I hope you be the same," said Josh.  "I want to be that person to tell them that it's going to be okay, that they don't have to pick up a gun...pick up a book.  Don't be violent, just do the right thing and coming to school is the only think that's going to get you on that right track."

Daryl Craig, known as Brother D, coordinates the Blue Coats effort. He said success is hard to measure but he believes the Blue Coat presence outside of schools and in the community has prevented many situations from escalating to trouble or violence.  "Because presence prevents," said brother D, and so you don't always know what you turned around."  Craig said the reports of gunfire and youth violence can cause discouragement to creep in, because they want to prevent it all.  "At the same time the results that we witnesses and have partaken of, the success stories always reel us back in." 

Blue Coat Anthony McGowan staffs the corner of East 23rd and Perry Street near McKinley Elementary, handing out dollars to students who show him that they earned an "A" on a school test or paper.  "It's not a job for me, it's a ministry...a ministry I feel like I was called to do, said McGowan."
Submit your event now
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Coroner Identifies Body Found in Bay

    Coroner Identifies Body Found in Bay

    Monday, July 28 2014 4:52 AM EDT2014-07-28 08:52:27 GMT
    From FacebookFrom Facebook
    Erie County Coroner Lyell Cook has released the identity of the teen found floating in Presque Isle Bay on Saturday morning, and has ruled the death a case of accidental drowning.More >>
    Erie County Coroner Lyell Cook has released the identity of the teen found floating in Presque Isle Bay on Saturday morning, and has ruled the death a case of accidental drowning.More >>
  • Storms Hit Crawford County

    Storms Hit Crawford County

    Monday, July 28 2014 4:52 AM EDT2014-07-28 08:52:42 GMT
    Storms swept through northwestern Pennsylvania Sunday evening packing high winds and a lot of lightning strikes.More >>
    Storms swept through northwestern Pennsylvania Sunday evening packing high winds and a lot of lightning strikes.More >>
  • Hearing Waived for Accused Frontier Pharmacy Robber

    Hearing Waived for Accused Frontier Pharmacy Robber

    Monday, July 28 2014 11:35 AM EDT2014-07-28 15:35:01 GMT
    One of the men accused of stealing thousands of dollars in high-end pain medications from a local pharmacy, had his day in court.More >>
    One of the men accused of stealing thousands of dollars in high-end pain medications from a local pharmacy, had his day in court.
    More >>
  • Police Ask For Help to Identify Body Found in Creek

    Police Ask For Help to Identify Body Found in Creek

    Sunday, July 27 2014 12:22 AM EDT2014-07-27 04:22:32 GMT
    Erie police have released a more detailed description of the body of a young man discovered Saturday morning in Cascade Creek. It was about 10:30 a.m. when two fishermen spotted the body floating in the water where cascade creek empties into Presque Isle Bay. The Erie Fire Department recovered the body. Erie County Coroner Lyell Cook says the young man was wearing only shorts and had no identification. He hopes that an autopsy scheduled Sunday may provide more information on what led to the d...More >>
    Erie police have released a more detailed description of the body of a young man discovered Saturday morning in Cascade Creek. It was about 10:30 a.m. when two fishermen spotted the body floating in the water where cascade creek empties into Presque Isle Bay. The Erie Fire Department recovered the body. Erie County Coroner Lyell Cook says the young man was wearing only shorts and had no identification. He hopes that an autopsy scheduled Sunday may provide more information on what led to the d...More >>
  • Fire Displaces Harborcreek Family

    Fire Displaces Harborcreek Family

    Sunday, July 27 2014 7:15 PM EDT2014-07-27 23:15:39 GMT
    A house fire in Harborcreek early Sunday displaced a family of six adults and two children. The fire broke out about 5:00 a.m. at 5144 Ebersole Drive. Fire officials say a family member woke up to the sound of crackling flames and managed to get everyone else up and safely out of the house. Assistant Fairfield Hose Company Chief Jeff Hawryliw says firefighters from Fuller Hose, Harborcreek, Lawrence Park and Belle Valley assisted in the firefight. It took more than 40 minutes to get the flame...More >>
    A house fire in Harborcreek early Sunday displaced a family of six adults and two children. The fire broke out about 5:00 a.m. at 5144 Ebersole Drive. Fire officials say a family member woke up to the sound of crackling flames and managed to get everyone else up and safely out of the house. Assistant Fairfield Hose Company Chief Jeff Hawryliw says firefighters from Fuller Hose, Harborcreek, Lawrence Park and Belle Valley assisted in the firefight. It took more than 40 minutes to get the flame...More >>
  • TORNADO WATCH

    TORNADO WATCH

    Sunday, July 27 2014 3:09 PM EDT2014-07-27 19:09:35 GMT
    A Tornado Watch is in effect for the entire viewing area through 9pm tonight. The Tornado Watch means weather conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms that are capable of producing tornadoes. THUNDERSTORMS TODAY AND THIS EVENING HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO BE SEVERE WITH LARGE HAIL...DAMAGING WINDS...AND LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL. A TORNADO IS POSSIBLE. Stay tuned to First Warning Weather and Watch Weekends Now for more information.More >>
    A Tornado Watch is in effect for the entire viewing area through 9pm tonight. The Tornado Watch means weather conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms that are capable of producing tornadoes. THUNDERSTORMS TODAY AND THIS EVENING HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO BE SEVERE WITH LARGE HAIL...DAMAGING WINDS...AND LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL. A TORNADO IS POSSIBLE. Stay tuned to First Warning Weather and Watch Weekends Now for more information.More >>
  • Body Found in Cascade Creek

    Body Found in Cascade Creek

    Saturday, July 26 2014 4:18 PM EDT2014-07-26 20:18:38 GMT
    City police and the coroner have a mystery on their hands after a young man's body was discovered Saturday morning in Cascade Creek. At about 10:30 a.m., two fishermen spotted the body floating in the water,where Cascade Creek empties into Presque Isle Bay. The Erie Fire Department water rescue team retrieved the body. According to Erie County Coroner Lyell Cook, the victim is a white male, believed to be in his late teens to early 20's. He was wearing only shorts. The coroner also says ther...More >>
    City police and the coroner have a mystery on their hands after a young man's body was discovered Saturday morning in Cascade Creek. At about 10:30 a.m., two fishermen spotted the body floating in the water,where Cascade Creek empties into Presque Isle Bay. The Erie Fire Department water rescue team retrieved the body. According to Erie County Coroner Lyell Cook, the victim is a white male, believed to be in his late teens to early 20's. He was wearing only shorts. The coroner also says ther...More >>
  • Erie Businesses Create "Jax Stone Week" to Help Local Boy Fighting Cancer

    Erie Businesses Create "Jax Stone Week" to Help Local Boy Fighting Cancer

    Saturday, July 26 2014 6:45 PM EDT2014-07-26 22:45:26 GMT
    The Erie business community has joined together to help 9-year-old Jax Stone.More >>
    The Erie business community has joined together to help 9-year-old Jax Stone.
    More >>
Powered by WorldNow
3514 State St. Erie, PA 16508
Newsroom: (814)454-8812
Toll Free: 1(800)454-8812
Business offices: (814)454-5201
WICU FCC Filing
WSEE FCC Filing
Share:
Share Stories
Submit your stories to our site!
Share Photos
Share your photos in our community galleries
Mobile:
Mobile Site
Be sure to stay constantly updated with the power of WICU12 and WSEE at your fingertips
Free Android App
Free iPhone App
Free iPad App
Storm Tracker App
Droid
iPhone
iPad
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WICU. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.
                   WICU/WSEE - 3514 State Street Erie, PA 16508 - (814) 454-5201 - info@wicu12.com