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Prince George’s nonprofit urges teens to wear belts

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Published on: Thursday, November 08, 2012

By Sarah Hainesworth

Do you cringe at the sight of a teenage boy with his pants sagging?

A local nonprofit is working to eliminate the saggy pants fad for good.

“I get frustrated seeing young people in the community, walking around with their pants halfway down their behinds,” said Jerrod Mustaf, executive director of Take Charge.

Take Charge provides youth services such as mentoring programs, gang intervention, life skills, leadership, vehicle theft prevention and more.

In an effort to relay the “stop sagging” message, Take Charge, along with its partners, provided locations where people could donate and drop off belts.

The “Pull ’Em Up Campaign”, an initiative of Take Charge, has attracted partners from all over the county. Just a few of the partners include Oxon Hill Middle School, Prince George’s County fire and police departments, First Baptist Church of Highland Park, 93.9 WKYS, It Takes Two Inc., Praise 104.1, TGI Friday and the municipalities of Seat Pleasant, Colmar Manor and Mt. Rainier.

Even some of the county’s elected officials have lent their names to the cause; they include, County Councilman Derrick Davis, County Councilman Eric Olson, Board of Education Member Amber Waller, Delegate Jay Walker, County Councilman Will Campos, County Councilwoman Ingrid Turner and state Sen. Joanne Benson.

The sagging fad is one that Mustaf, Take Charge and many organizations throughout the county, want to put to an end.

“Wearing your pants baggy and sagging fits right into a stereotype that we’re trying to get away from,” Mustaf said. “This is a fad, a negative trend that we have to reverse.”

Mustaf continued, “We have to stand up and take the initiative and say our community does not endorse this and teach young people that this is not OK.”

Belts were collected throughout the county from Sept. 4 through Nov. 1. The donation time period was extended to Nov. 7 due to Superstorm Sandy. As of deadline, 100 belts were collected at the Take Charge office in Forestville. There were 12 other donation sites where belts had not yet been picked up.

According to Mustaf, Take Charge and its partners will hold a belt drive in Ward 7 of Washington D.C. The effort may also be initiated in Baltimore City.

“Even though the campaign is ending, it’s not ending. This is a challenge we will have to fight for a long time,” Mustaf said.

Reader Comments - 1 Total

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Posted By: G.Pavana On: 11/9/2012

Title: G.Pavana

Mr.Mustaf and his staff have been stomping for the integrity of the youth community for a very long time. It doesn't surprise me that he seamlessly coordinated such a brilliant campaign to collect belts with not only practical ramifications but, metaphorical implications that will resinate in the psyche of the youth and their parent's culture for months to come. It is not ending as he stated, I suspect he has more up his sleeves!


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