OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A local prison ministry is reaching out to youth early on – before they end up in the justice system.  

This weekend, they’re offering the opportunity to hear from people who have made major mistakes – so hopefully they don’t do the same. 

“We want them to know that they do have choices, but all choices have consequences, whether good or bad,” said Donna Thompson, Director of The Oklahoma Baptist State Convention Prison Ministry. 

OBSC Prison Ministry is one of the most active in reaching out to those in the state’s Department of Corrections – but this weekend their goal shifts. 

On Saturday at Paradise Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, their hope is to reach young people before they end up in a situation that can land them behind bars.

Youth Awareness Program flyer. Image from Oklahoma Baptist State Convention Prison Ministry Program.

“We need to change their minds here to make better choices,” Thompson said. “Not to even get involved with people who are doing those negative activities because guilt by association does exist.” 

Saturday’s event will mark the 16th annual Youth Awareness Program. 

Speakers will include people whose choices did result in prison time. 

“But they’re going to also hear about some people who actually – they faced the same challenges that everyone else does,” Thompson said. “Sex, drugs, peer pressure, even family issues. But they chose to do things different.” 

Parents are encouraged to attend with their children. 

“Don’t just send your children – come and listen to the things that these people have to say because you may notice some of the signals in your own child,” Thompson said. 

The event will start at noon with some networking then the actual program will begin at 1. 

It will be held at Paradise Baptist Church at 4617 NE 36th Street. in Oklahoma City.