SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Less than a year after being shot and paralyzed, a young man from California is following through on his promise to make a difference in Savannah.
Semaj Clark, a youth advocate, was in Savannah last October talking at a conference to help prevent youth crime when he was shot. Clark had a long road to recovery but made a commitment to improve
Clark's new organization is called FIRE, and it focuses on troubled teens in hopes of getting them out of dangerous situations and placing them on the right path.
"I am bringing something that is real, that is authentic. I have been through this, so I can have conversations and I can get them around people that can talk to them and those that have helped me," said Clark.
Clark, still getting use to his life in a wheel chair after a shooting in Yamacraw Village left him paralyzed. A young man attempted to rob Clark and that is when he opened fire. Instead of running, Clark made a commitment to stay in Savannah, and try and make a change.
"We are going to outreach to system involved youth that have been impacted by a traumatic experience. We try and go through and work on their skills emotionally and hopefully give them what they need academically," said Clark.
He is hoping that FIRE spreads like fire throughout Savannah, especially with the recent crimes involving young teenagers. On Friday, a teen was charged in a robbery and shooting.
"Fire stands for Forgiveness, Introspection, Respect, and Education," said Clark. "The program will empower the youth by the following: conflict resolution, life management, communication skills and emotional intelligence."
Clark already has hundreds of likes on Facebook, he is receiving funding from all over the country but he is still hoping other community groups will reach out so that his organization can grow.
"I hear that these kids are interested and that they want to know more about the program, so, I guess I would tell them that help is on the way," said Clark.
Clark will host a Gala/Concert next month as an unofficial kickoff to FIRE.